STEVENSVILLE — The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center celebrated its 40th anniversary Friday evening, Nov. 8, with its major Wet and Wild Auction fundraiser at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville. The event was very well attended.

This was the first year the annual Wet and Wild gala was not held at CBEC in Grasonville. The silent auction included many unique items. After a buffet dinner prepared by the Beach Club staff, nine live auction items were bid on.

Wet and Wild Auction Committee Chairman Susan Vianna welcomed all who attended. She reminded everyone that 2019 was the 40th year of existence for the center and its mission of stewardship and sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay. She mentioned the 510-acre wildlife preserve was originally called Horsehead Wetlands Center when it opened in 1979. The location provides for over four miles of hiking trails; walkers, joggers and nature enthusiasts can enjoy a myriad of habitats ranging from freshwater ponds and wetlands to forests and meadows.

Vianna introduced CBEC Executive Director Judy Wink, who spoke briefly.

“There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing people having a good time at a great party,” she said with a big smile.

Vianna also introduced CBEC Board of Trustees President Carl Tenner, who said, “Remember, when you bid tonight, you’re donating to CBEC.”

Vianna asked all of the Auction Committee members to stand and be recognized. She also thanked the band Wheelhouse for their great music for the evening.

Auctioneer Jeff Heisey from Belair Auto Auction conducted the live auction, which began with a “Heads and Tails — Best of the Best Game” for everyone who had purchased a chance to win one of the prizes. The $40 chances consisted of a blinky, green turtle pin.

The game began with people standing choosing to put both hands either on top of their head or on their butt. When Heisey flipped a coin, how the coin landed determined who would sit down and be eliminated from the game. Eighty people stood up to begin the game. A few flips of the coin later, only four people remained standing.

Of the final four, three chose to place their hands on their butt, and one placed his hands on his head. The coin went up; it was heads, and Matt Rzepkowski of Arlington, Va., won. He had his choice of any live auction prize before the live auction began except for one — the Bahamas Beachfront Retreat. Rzepkowski chose the three-night 2020 Fall Foliage Vacation to Green Mountain Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont, which sleeps eight to nine people.

Then the live auction proceeded. The total of funds raised was not available when this story was written.

After the live auction, the event continued with dancing until 10 p.m.

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