Fund-raising at root of Sweet Tooth Auction

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ROME TOWNSHIP — Sammy Myers strutted his stuff around the livestock arena at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds Monday afternoon, a coconut cake in hand.

People in the crowd giggled as he twisted and turned. Dakota Barnett had been a bit more demure when she presented her brownies. But in the end those goodies and others were snapped up by faithful patrons of the annual Sweet Tooth Auction, part of the Lawrence County Junior Fair.

In the end, the auction raised approximately $1,600, with a tray of oatmeal raisin cookies fetching the highest bid (Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham paid $200 for them).

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If the auction was a way for 4-H kids to make money, some political candidates were willing to pay up — and walk away with some goodies to share.

Jeff Lawless, Republican candidate for Lawrence County Sheriff, bought some brownies.

“I just did it to help out the kids,” he said, his brownies in hand.

Wayne Pennington, Democratic candidate for county commission, walked away with a red velvet cake, one of his favorites, but conceded, “I did it for the kids. This is really about them. They work hard and this is really for them.”

Pennington, Burcham and fellow Democrat Tanner Heaberlin, running for a second county commission seat, teamed up frequently throughout the evening and walked away with a couple of desserts each.

Both Cheryl Jenkins, GOP candidate for Clerk of Courts, and Sharon Gossett Hager, GOP candidate for recorder, said they were in 4-H as kids and know the value of the program. Gossett Hager also knew the value of a good blackberry bundt cake.

“I’m going to be a hit at the office tomorrow,” she said.

Fellow Republican Perry Brock, running against Burcham for treasurer, said he would take his treasure to a fish fry at the campgrounds, knowing, of course, that he would be the popular guy with a dessert in hand.

By the end of the auction, the kids walked away with some cash for their efforts and the bipartisanship that marked the bidding wars ceased when Burcham, a Democrat, offered Jenkins, a Republican, one of his cookies.