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Midnight in The Tropics sets fundraising record

Midnight in The Tropics, an annual fundraiser to benefit a pair of local charities, set a donation record on Saturday night, raising more than a quarter million dollars.

The event, organized by the Livingston County Sunrise Rotary, was held at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township with several hundred people in attendance decked out in colorful beachwear while a tropical-themed band entertained the crowd.

The first of the two local charities that were the beneficiaries of the event were The Connection Youth Services, which provides emergency shelter, transitional living and street outreach services for troubled youth. The second was Habitat for Humanity ‘A Brush With Kindness Program’ which provides repairs and updates to families’ existing homes to ensure safety and accessibility.

A packed house at Midnight in the Tropics

The event included a raucous live auction, with Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson serving as the auctioneer, putting on an energetic performance that included hopping up on chairs while exhorting attendees to reach just a bit deeper into their proverbial pockets for the various items up for bid, including trips to Sedona, Arizona and Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean.

Auctioneer Chris Swanson making sure he can be seen

Swanson, using a combination of sly humor and comic intimidation, was able to raise more than $84,000 during the live auction, and was ecstatic to announce at the end of the evening that in all, Midnight in the Tropics raised more than $251,000 between the live and silent auctions, ticket proceeds and various other on-site fundraisers.

Chris Swanson with former County Commissioner and Brighton Mayor Kate Lawrence

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