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Panama vacation package up for bid at 2014 Art & Culinary Show

From left: Dan Heffron, Linda Skoglund and Kim Gorres have donated a Panama vacation package to auction off at this year’s St. Croix Art & Culinary Show. (Photo by Micheal Foley)

In past years, the New Richmond Rotary Club has raised the bulk of its funds for the STRIVE scholarship program with art auctions and ticket sales at the St. Croix Art & Culinary Show. This year, they’ll have something else to auction off.

Fitting with the show’s “Experience the Globe” theme, a premium Panama vacation will be up for bid.

“It’s a big deal, because it will impact that amount that we’ll raise,” said event organizer and chairperson Jo Wrich. “It’s always been a challenge because locally people don’t value art the way it should be valued, but a vacation is different. Plus this is something you can share with other people and team together, where you can’t do that with art.”

The vacation package includes a five-night stay at a villa at Red Frog Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and a $1,000 gift certificate for Travel Leaders to help cover travel costs.

The villa, located in a tropical rainforest paradise, was donated by Dan Heffron, a Boston Scientific sales rep who grew up in New Richmond and now lives in Afton, Minn.

Heffron said he and his friends Jodie Alwin and Wayne Scanlan began investing in the villa in 2004 and began renting it to vacationers in 2011.

“Recently, we had a meeting about donating to charitable events, and our first one was the American Heart Association of Minnesota, which we auctioned off back in November,” Heffron said. “Having friends in New Richmond, I thought it would great to do it for the Rotary Club to give back to my community. Also, it’s a great way to promote the villa, so it goes both ways.”

The three-bedroom villa is a full house that can accommodate up to nine people. According to Heffron, its amenities include a private pool, kitchen, laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, satellite TV and much more.

More information about the villa is available at its Facebook page at 03142.

Skoglund, who works at JA Counter, and Gorres, who works at Travel Leaders, have come together to add a $1,000 gift certificate for Travel Leaders to the vacation package. The winning bidder will use the gift certificate to help defray costs associated with flying from Minneapolis to Panama City, from Panama City to the immediate area, and catching a water taxi to the island.

The 2014 St. Croix Art & Culinary show features area artists displaying, demonstrating and performing their skills. Local chefs and restaurants also serve up samples of some of their favorite dishes. Spirits from 45th Parallel and beer from Brady’s Brewhouse will also be available along with some sort of live entertainment. A chef showdown, which debuted last year, will once again be part of the show. Details about the showdown will be released at a later date.

This year’s event is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. on Sunday, April 27 at R&D Catering Banquet Hall. Tickets are $40 and are available at Ready Randy’s, the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce and online at

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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