Fancy, folksy and just plain funny dolls will go to the highest bidder at the 43rd annual Evans Home Doll Auction next weekend. The annual fundraiser for the Henry and William Evans Home for Children Auction will begin with a 2 p.m. reception Dec. 2 at the Lloyd House, an alumni house next to the Evans Home at 330 E. Leicester St., Winchester. About 25 dolls will be up for sale when the auction begins at 2:30 p.m.
The dolls are one-of-a-kind creations donated to be auctioned off for the Evans Home, where children go when they can’t live with their families but would not thrive with a foster or adoptive family, said Winchester Mayor Elizabeth A. Minor, the event’s chair for the last 12 years.
Despite the event’s longevity, each year is new and exciting because of the ingenuity of the people who create the dolls, she said. “I just don’t see how the doll dressers can come up with the different outfits for the dolls every year, but they do, and they are all so different and so well done,” said Minor of Winchester. “They are beautifully done, and they put so much love and so much work into each one.”
Even after witnessing 18 years worth of doll auctions in his position as executive director, Marc Jaccard said he is still amazed each time the plain undecorated dolls go out and come back as beautiful creations. But more than just how they look, the dolls represent an important parallel to the children they end up helping. “They leave looking very plain and come back looking very unique,” said Jaccard of Charles Town, W.Va. “The reverse is true of our kids. Our kids come in often with most of their personality on the inside. Our hope is that when they leave, they are ready to be successful and show the world who they are and who they can be.”
As of this week, eight children were staying at the home, but 11 should be residing there before Christmas, Jaccard said.
The 2011 auction raised $24,000, or about double the usual amount, to be used for the nonprofit’s general fund, said Collette Hawes, the home’s administrative assistant, who helps to coordinate the auction. She hopes the auction will have the same generous bids again this year.
“It was a stellar year for us. The Evans Home had not had that level of profit from the doll auction since 2001,” she said. This year’s dolls will appeal to a variety of collectors, Hawes said. The entries include porcelain, vinyl and fabric dolls. BB&T donated the porcelain and vinyl doll forms or participants bought their own, Hawes said. They then transformed the raw material into their own special creations, several of them entering more than one doll.
Some of this year’s entries include a fabric doll with pink and a floral dress, a porcelain brunette doll wearing a poofy lime and forest green ball gown and carrying a Christmas box, and a large porcelain doll sporting blonde ringlets and a fancy gold and white dress.
Betsy Sibert of Winchester entered two porcelain dolls this year — one her own idea and the other a “suggestion” by Jaccard and Hawes. The first is a Cinderella-inspired doll wearing a royal blue cotton dress with stars on it and light blue satin puffed sleeves and gathered hip detail. She is wearing silver shoes but holding one of her glass slippers. “I just wanted to do a character doll for a change instead of fancy and frilly,” said Sibert, whose Miss Apple Blossom doll last year won the “fancy and frilly” category and the overall grand prize.
Sibert’s second entry was a last-minute addition. It was inspired by a picture of a board member, Sheriff Lenny Millholland, when he competed in a womanless beauty pageant in September at Lord Fairfax Community College. The doll matches his alter ego, Harlena Davidson, from the long blonde locks covered by a black bandana to the faux leather pants and vest. Even the blonde mustache Sibert added matched Millholland’s look — “he put a lot of makeup on to cover up his mustache,” Hawes said.
The entries competed Wednesday with anonymous judges awarding places in different categories, depending on the entries.
Potential categories were historical/patriotic, character, nationality, fancy/frilly, plain and sensible, knit and crochet, and baby-doll categories, Hawes said. Winners of the different categories and a Grand Prize will be announced at the auction.
The dolls have been donated back to the home for the fundraiser and will be on display at several local businesses this week to promote the auction, Jaccard said. In the past, the dolls were in one location, but organizers hoped spreading them out would increase exposure.
Also new this year, dressers have been asked to make separate standalone outfits for 18-inch vinyl dolls, Hawes said. The dresses will not be judged in the competition, but they will be auctioned off for the Evans Home. The addition is by request because of the popularity of the American Girl dolls.
“These are people who want to support the home and may have a granddaughter or young daughter they want to buy a dress for,” Hawes said.
For those interested in purchasing an item but unable to make it to the auction, bids will be accepted on your website, Jaccard said. People will prebid a maximum amount, and that will be the starting bid for the live auction if somebody wants to outbid it. Pictures and descriptions of all of the auction items should be on the site by Monday.
The auction is one of three major fundraisers held annually by the Evans Home. One, a September dinner, raised $58,310 this year, and the February chili dinner, complete with local celebrity waiters raised 9,255, Hawes said. The group is also hoping to add a mystery dinner theater in April.
The Evans Home’s 2012 fiscal year budget is about $575,000. Some funding comes from the state for foster care, but around 80 percent is provided through private donations, she said. The Evans Home uses 92.5 cents of every $1 given to meet the needs of abused, neglected, and homeless children, she said.
The home consists of a one-story main building, which includes offices, living quarters for houseparents and two wings (one for boys, one for girls), a dining room, living room, library, and computer lab, Jaccard said. Each child has his or her own room, so the home can hold up to 20.
Next door is the Lloyd House, a home for Evans Home children who have completed high school and need a place to stay during the transition time between dependency and independence, he said. Some also have left the home, experienced difficulty transitioning, and come back for help while they get on their feet.
“The purpose (of the Lloyd House) is it allows us to be family for our kids after they grow up,” Jaccard said.
The 43rd annual Evans Home Doll Auction will begin at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Lloyd House, an alumni house next to the Evans Home, 330 E. Leicester St., Winchester.
For more information, call the Evans Home at 540-662-8520or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com