Get your paddles ready – Bids for Kids auction to benefit Thea Bowman House

Photos courtesy of CNY Events


BIDS4Sister Thea Bowman spent much of her life devoted to young people, and now a local agency named for her is getting a little help to fulfill its mission of serving the area’s most vulnerable children.

CNY Events is hosting the second annual Bids for Kids on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Club Monarch, 16 Erie St., Yorkville to benefit Thea Bowman House in Utica. Admission is $10. Tickets are available at the door or online at

Bids for Kids is a live charity auction, with items donated by businesses throughout New York state. This year’s event begins at 7 p.m. with a cocktail hour featuring appetizers, drink specials, door prizes, and acoustic music from area musician Justin Smithson. At 8 p.m., the live auction begins, with Mark Piersma of WUTQ’s “Talk of the Town” reprising his role as auctioneer.

“A live auction is pretty exciting,” says Joe Hickel, who founded CNY Events with his fiancée, Monica Price. “You have a bidding number on a paddle, you hold it up to bid, and things can get pretty crazy. Mark does a great job as the auctioneer … he keeps it fun. It’s a really great, mixed crowd, with people of all ages – from 20s to 60s.”

BIDS2More than 35 lots will be up for auction, including trips to Boston and Las Vegas; Tiffany lamps; tickets to Santana, Cheap Trick, and other concerts; a Utica Comets basket; a framed and fully authenticated Mickey Mantle autographed 8×10 photo; a wheelbarrow filled with adult beverages; two Rusty Wallace Experience Ride Alongs at the Oswego Race Track; a private tour and party at the Saranac Brewery; a wine cooler that includes six bottles of wine and a wine opening set; and a one-year supply of Utica Coffee and a coffee gift basket.

“There is definitely something to suit everyone’s tastes,” Hickel says. “It’s a fun event, and it’s for a great cause.”

Hickel says last year’s event raised about $6,500, and he hopes this year’s event will raise even more.

Thea Bowman House provides a safe, nurturing environment to enable culturally diverse children and families achieve their full potential with the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty through a structured program of educational and social enrichment. The House serves more than 300 children ages 18 months through 18 years, operating out of two sites in the city of Utica – one at 731 Lafayette St., and the other at the former St. Francis de Sales School at 309 Genesee St.

BIDS6“We really enjoy giving to organizations that work with or help kids,” Hickel says. “Thea Bowman House seemed like a perfect fit for this event.”

CNY Events is an offshoot of CNY Roasters, a group known for throwing fundraising events for local charities. Hickel says that his background in the restaurant industry paired with Price’s background in event planning seemed like a great way to help nonprofit organizations. He adds that CNY Events is always willing to help nonprofits with their events. Learn more at, or email


“We believe in this community,” Hickel says. “We want to see it thrive, and the best way to do that is to give back.”


Jennifer Fanelli
The Fuze Magazine



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