Biggest haul yet for Afternoon Rotary at Crab Fest ‘24 (VIDEO)

Silent auction raises $112,000+ for charity


For the second-year running, the Rotary Club of Los Gatos’ Crab Fest has been held on one of the rainiest days of the year. Yet on Saturday night, there was a sell-out crowd at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church hall in Saratoga, as community members contributed more than $100,000 to support the group’s philanthropy.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Suzanne Boxer-Gassman, Crab Fest chair, at the end of the night as the contributions were being tabulated. “I’m speechless.”

The evening brought out a who’s who of local politics, from former San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo to Assemblymember Gail Pellerin to Los Gatos Mayor Mary Badame and Cupertino City Councilmember Hung Wei.

Students serving
Interact Club members worked hard all night serving crab to attendees and helping to clean up afterwards. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Chris Kouretas, a San Jose restaurateur, was attending for the first time.

“I thought the event was very well organized,” he said. “I thought the food was great and the silent auction was beyond belief.”

He even agreed to join one of the local clubs.

“We got recruited to be part of the Rotary for next year,” he said. “So, I think we’ll be back.”

His wife, Carey Kouretas, brought her girlfriends Kym Phan and Sharon Grosskopf who she met while working out at Studio Kicks.

Three Friends
Carey Kouretas brought her girlfriends Kym Phan and Sharon Grosskopf. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

“The vibe was pretty cool,” Phan said, adding it was nice to see the community coming together to help important causes. “I’m really glad to be a part of it.”

Grosskopf said, for her, the event typified the spirit of community-building that she’s enjoyed seeing around the community in recent years—including the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce’s “We Got This LG!” campaign.

“I stand by, ‘We Got This Los Gatos;’ and we’ve got this,” she said. “Let’s bring together everybody in this community to be greater than ever.”

The Los Gatos Rotary Charities Foundation supports West Valley Communities, Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley, the RACHEL Project and other outreach efforts locally and abroad.

Assemblymember Gail Pellerin said people were fired-up about raising money for good causes.

The crab was absolutely fantastic. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

“I see a lot of happy people ready to raise a lot of money for Los Gatos Rotary and eat some amazing crab,” she said. “And, of course, everybody braved the storms to come out today.”

Donna Boger, of Los Gatos, won a package that included a The Pastaria & Market

gift card, Symphony San Jose tickets and a bottle of wine.

Another person, who sheepishly declined to give their name after being outbid on a desired item, said they still had quite “a pleasant evening out for myself and my better half.”

for auction
This was just one of the items that was up for auction. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Co-emcee John Pencer noted the Rotary club has been holding the event since 1981.

“It’s just great to get all these Rotarians and their friends together,” he said. “We’ll feed them crab, we’ll have a great evening and make some money for charity.”

Ultimately, the fundraiser brought in more than $112,000 through the silent auction, including $13,500 for the Bill Wilson Center Safety Net Shelter­­­ in San Jose.

“It’s the most we’ve ever made,” Boxer-Gassman said. “We’re thrilled about that.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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