Cardinal Auction and Social

Book your babysitters and put on your dancing shoes– it’s Cardinal Elementary’s biggest party of the year!
What: In addition to a silent and live auction, this adults-only event will also include an open bar, appetizers, LIVE music, dancing, and a photo booth.
When:  April 19th, 2024, 7-11pm
Where: Knights of Columbus, Arlington
Why: To raise money for the PTA
Theme and Dress Code: This year’s theme is “The Cardinal Eras Tour: Soaring through the Decades.” No, it’s not a Taylor Swift party…but you can certainly make it one. Come dressed as your favorite celebrity or band from any decade, or just wear something that’s a nod to a particular decade. Don’t want to dress up? No problem. In the words of one of our favorite 90’s singers, come as you are!
Tickets can be purchased here

Keep reading for answers to Frequently Asked Questions and Parent Donation FAQs.


Auction FAQs

Why do we host an auction? What are the proceeds from the auction used for?

2023 was the first year that Cardinal held a fundraising auction, and this is one of the top questions we received. Many don’t realize how much the Cardinal PTA, which is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, does in support of our students, staff, and community, or how critical the auction funds are to this support. The auction is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we rely on it for funding our annual PTA budget (which was depleted during COVID years when fundraising was limited).

The annual PTA budget is used for funding our school supply stipends for teachers; teacher grants, support and appreciation; field trips; staff training; needs-based scholarships for student enrichment classes and other activities; school events; supplies and equipment. This year the PTA is also funding class field trips for two Title I elementary schools in Arlington (who don’t have a fundraising vehicle of their own), which we’re particularly excited about.

All of the profit from the auction goes directly back to our students, teachers, and school community. For more details about what your donation supports, please see this post from Sarah Van Velsor, former PTA President, in our PTA The PTA budget is also reviewed at each monthly PTA meeting, which all are welcome to join.

Aside from fundraising, the auction is a tremendous community building event. It’s a ton of fun, and a great way to socialize (kid-free!!) with friends in the Cardinal community as well as make new connections.

What should I wear and bring to the auction? 

“Decades” attire is highly encouraged but certainly not required. Otherwise, any type of cocktail attire is perfect. Please bring a fully charged mobile phone, as all silent auction bidding will happen online via your phone. We will have a charging station, but plugs are limited.

What does my ticket include?

Each ticket includes full access to our silent and live auction, open bar, appetizers and desserts, photo booth, live music and dancing!

We’re excited that this year’s auction will feature a local favorite band, Champagne Velvet. They’ll be playing a mix of favorites from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.  

When should I arrive?

The party will be from 7-11pm. Check-in will start promptly at 7pm, and we hope you’ll arrive as close to 7 as possible to maximize your fun! We highly encourage you to pre-register online as an online bidder, saving you time during check-in. You can do this via the “Get Started” button on the bidding site, which will open up closer to the event (we’ll send a reminder to all who’ve purchased tickets). However, we’ll have multiple check-in stations to keep things moving quickly.

What is the timeline for the evening?

The silent auction will open a couple of days before the event and continue online through Friday evening. The silent auction will close in two phases—at 9pm, all silent auction items except Parent Parties, Class/Teacher Experiences and our luxury vacations will close. Parent Parties, Class/Teacher Experiences and Luxury Vacation bidding will continue until 9:15pm. The Live Auction will begin around 9:40, during which we’ll auction off some of our most exciting packages. And throughout the entire event, the band will be playing great dance music, and appetizers, desserts and an open bar will be available. Because of this, it’s an adults-only event.

How does the silent auction work?

All of the silent auction bidding will be done online, which means even during the party on Friday night, you’ll be bidding straight from your phone. We’ll also have some tangible items on display for you to view in person. You’ll have the opportunity to pre-register before the event so you’ll be ready to bid. Once the bidding starts, our online bidding system will notify you if you’ve been “outbid” on an item you’re interested in, so you can still enjoy the party while the silent auction is underway.

If I don’t want to buy anything at the auction, can I still donate to the PTA?

Of course! On the Purchase Tickets site, there’s an option to “Make a Donation”. You can then enter the amount you’d like to donate. There’s also no obligation to bid on anything if you attend the auction, so we encourage you to still attend even if you aren’t interested in any items. It’s such a fun time and a great community building opportunity. Many lasting friendships have been born from the Auction!

Can I invite non-Cardinal friends and family to attend the auction with me?

Yes, the more the merrier! You are welcome to purchase tickets for as many guests as you’d like.

I’d like to attend the auction, but I can’t afford the tickets.

We want this to be a fun community event for all Cardinal parents. If you would like to attend the auction but cannot afford to purchase a ticket, let us know and we’ll be sure you get a ticket. Simply send an email to Ryan Armstrong at

Are Cardinal Teachers and Staff invited to the auction?

Yes, teachers and staff are invited to the auction and many attended last year. We offer free tickets to teachers and staff, and discounted tickets for their guests.


Parent Donation FAQs

To make the Auction a fundraising success, we need your help! We are seeking donations of parties, experiences, services, and goods that can be auctioned off at the event on April 19th. Last year, family donations were our most popular items – we hope to have many more this year!

Are donations Tax-Deductible?

Yes! The Cardinal PTA is a 501(c)(3) organization and can do its work thanks to the generous donations from our member families and community partners.  Your gifts are tax-deductible under IRS Rule 501(c)(3).

How can I submit a donation?

Please complete this FORM by Friday, March 8th to let the Donations Committee know what you are donating. If you are donating a physical item (as opposed to something like a party or service), the Committee will reach out to you to coordinate pickup/delivery of the item by March 31.

I’m not sure what to donate. What are some ideas?

The sky is the limit when it comes to parent donations, and you can be as creative as you’d like. Think about ways you can use your expertise, hobbies, or connections to earn money for Cardinal in a very fun way.  Donations can be made by individuals, or you can pull a group together to go in on something even bigger. They can be goods, services, experiences, parties, gift certificates, etc. Donations can be targeted to kids, families, or adults.  Some donation ideas may include:

  • Gather a group of parents and host a kindergarten Nerf party, or a 3rd grade pool party
  • Lend your vacation house to a family for a week or weekend
  • Offer a few hours of your interior design or organizational service expertise
  • Put together a basket with items from some of your favorite local shops
  • Donate tickets to a sporting event
  • Host a beer or wine tasting at a local restaurant with other couples
  • Throw a kickball tournament at a local field with a group of friends/parents

Feel free to reach out to our Donation Co-Chairs, Kelly Ryan or Lindsey Fischetti, if you need help brainstorming!

*We ask that you do not solicit a donation from a business directly. We have an entire committee who has been actively engaging with businesses over the last few months to solicit donations and sponsorships, and we don’t want to duplicate efforts. If you have a relationship with a business that you’d like to leverage, please just let us know first so we can ensure our efforts are coordinated.

What are “parent parties” and how can I host one?

One of the most popular items we auction off at the event are our Parent Parties. A “parent party” is donated just like most other items being auctioned off. Any Cardinal parent can volunteer to host a party, or you can choose to host with a group of other parents. As the host, you cover the costs of the party (that’s your donation) and choose the theme, location, date, and max number of attendees. At the auction, we sell tickets at a set price to each party, up to the max number of attendees, on a first-come, first-serve basis. All proceeds from the ticket sales go directly to the PTA.

Both hosting and attending Parent Parties are also a fantastic way to build community and meet other Cardinal parents. Last year’s parties included an end of summer bash with a live band, an old-school frat party, Yoga and Mimosas, a pancake breakfast, pizza party, and more. Feel free to be as creative as you’d like. Parties can be adults-only or geared toward kids/families. Parties that can accommodate at least 20 people tend to be most successful, but intimate gatherings are great as well.

Again, feel free to reach out to Donation Co-Chairs, Kelly Ryan or Lindsey Fischetti, if you are interested in hosting a parent party and need help brainstorming, or if you want to connect with other parents who are interested in co-hosting.



How You Can Help

Contact the program chair(s) if you wish to help.

2023-24 Auction Chair(s)

Ryan Armstrong (
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