Residents in the Brookings-Harbor community donned masks for a masquerade gala and raised about $12,000 toward developing an indoor aquatic center.

More than 50 guests dressed in semiformal attire filled the lower level student lounge at Southwestern Oregon Community College Curry Campus.

The event andndash; sponsored by Friends of the Brookings-Harbor Aquatic Center (FBHAC) andndash;featured a cocktail hour provided by 625 wine bar in Brookings, entertainment by classical guitarist Tye Austin from Ashland, dinner catered by Redfish of Port Orford, a silent auction, a live auction called by Daryn Farmer and door prizes.

Between dinner and the auction, CandK Markets was presented with a plaque recognizing its commitment to the local community and because they were the Marquee Sponsor of our event.

Many CandK employees donated their time and energy to logistical aspects and decorating the college for the event, said Vanessa Nidiffer, event coordinator. In addition, Dan and Kathy Brattain of Cal-Ore Life Flight were honored as the diamond sponsor and Daryn Farmer-State Farm Insurance, Vision Source andndash; Eye Center of Brookings, and Cholwell, Benz and Hartwick were silver sponsors.

Juliane Leighton, FBHAC chair, gave a presentation on the merits of an aquatic center. In addition to bringing families together for a healthy activity, an aquatic center provides exercise that may decrease the risk of chronic disease, reduce obesity, and improvemobility and cognition for the elderly. In addition, the indoor facility can provide year-round swim lessons.

The event became more lively when Farmer took the microphone and began the auction, which included a few jabs, making people think they just made a big purchase. A few bidding wars took place for items such as a package of Ashland attractions, a citrine ring donated by Harbrook Jewelers, and a guided fishing trip donated by Gary and Val Early that went for over $700.

It was also announced that FBHAC has been granted 501(c)3 charitable organization status, allowing all donations to be tax deductible, according to a letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

Donations may be sent to FBHAC, P.O. Box 6489, Brookings, OR 97415.

For more information about FBHAC, call 541-251-0617 or visit