Attendees at the Friends of NRA — Juneau’s banquet in 2019 talk near auction tables at Centennial Hall. The fundraising event is resuming Saturday after a four-year COVID-19 disruption. (Photo courtesy of Friends of NRA — Juneau)

Attendees at the Friends of NRA — Juneau’s banquet in 2019 talk near auction tables at Centennial Hall. The fundraising event is resuming Saturday after a four-year COVID-19 disruption. (Photo courtesy of Friends of NRA — Juneau)

Friends of NRA — Juneau fundraising banquet returns Saturday after four-year pandemic absence

New Zealand hunting safari, signed Ted Nugent guitar among items being offered.

A different type of late-fall hunting season is happening this weekend as trophies ranging from a New Zealand safari trip to a patriotic-themed custom guitar signed by Ted Nugent will be in the sites of attendees as the Friends of NRA — Juneau resumes its annual fundraising banquet after a four-year COVID-19 interruption.

The banquet at 5 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall will also, naturally, include guns as part of the auctions and raffles taking place during the evening, as well a wide variety of items donated by local merchants and artists, said Martha Palicka, chair of this year’s event.

She said half of the proceeds remain in-state and a website promoting the event states more than $66,000 has been awarded since 2017 by the NRA Foundation to Juneau organizations including school rifle teams, the Juneau Trap Team, and the Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club’s Youth Rimfire League. The other half goes to national programs of a similar nature.

A custom guitar signed by Ted Nugent is among the items being auctioned during this year’s Friends of NRA — Juneau fundraising banquet on Saturday at Centennial Hall. (Photo courtesy of Friends of NRA — Juneau)

A custom guitar signed by Ted Nugent is among the items being auctioned during this year’s Friends of NRA — Juneau fundraising banquet on Saturday at Centennial Hall. (Photo courtesy of Friends of NRA — Juneau)

Friends of NRA — Juneau hosted the banquets annually for the past few decades until the pandemic, Palicka said. She said she took the initiative to resume them.

“The only reason, honestly, that I’m the chair is because I missed having the banquets,” she said. “And I found that there was nobody chairing the committee and the committee had kind of disbanded, so I agreed to become chair and put it back together because I’ve really enjoyed these events and the ways in which we were raising money.”

Both a silent and live-bidding auctions are scheduled during the evening, along with the raffles, Palicka said.

Despite the four-year interim, Palicka said only about 25 of the 300 tickets remain available, with all ticket sales being conducted in advance. Options range from $75 for a single person (or $150, which includes one raffle ticket that sells separately for $100) to $12,000 for a “Guardian Table Package” that admits eight for the banquet and includes a bundle of tickets/vouchers for drawings.

Past banquets typically took place in April, Palicka said, but since this one is happening in December there will be some new flourishes fitting for the season.

“We’re doing a slightly different theme and kind of throwing in some games that have a bit of a Christmas sound to them, like Santa’s Surprise, which used to be called the Cup Game,” she said. “We’re just doing a few things like that to make it a little more holiday.”

Palicka also emphasized that because the banquet is a Friends of NRA event — not by the NRA itself — its purpose as a fundraiser is for educational purposes rather than advocacy or similar causes.

“I think when people kind of hear the message with how we do our fundraising, and what it’s gone to (and) how it really does benefit our communities I think that they feel a lot more positive about it,” she said.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Know and Go

What: Friends of NRA — Juneau fundraising banquet

When: 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Dr.

Tickets: $75-$12,000. Sold in advance only. Available at www.friendsofnra.org/events/event-details?eventId=59995

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