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Talent, fundraising win Welles Mr. South Whidbey crown
In front of an enthusiastic crowd at Freeland Hall, six diverse candidates gave it their all. Each was attempting to win the title of Mr. South Whidbey.
The seventh annual fundraising event for Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund on Oct. 6 pitted John Auburn, Christian Albright, Rocco Gianni, Brian Vick, Nick Welles and Jim Wills against each other. The South Whidbey men competed with displays of fashion sense, quick-witted answers to questions from emcee Sue Frause and a variety of theatrics.
Auburn left his cake out in the rain and vamped around the stage in a parody of a Lady Gaga song, Albright had the crowd laughing with his comedy routine. Gianni entertained as Rocky Balboa and the fiddler on the roof. Fireman Vick demonstrated metal fabrication and auctioned an art piece to the crowd. Welles sang and played the guitar. And Wills demonstrated painting techniques.
In the end, none of the talent mattered as the man who won the crown was he who raised the most money. By the end of the evening, candidates brought in just under $22,000.
The evening concluded with Welles, a Useless Bay Coffee Company barista, going to an after-party hosted by Prima Bistro wearing the crown. With his first official decree, he vowed to keep his tip jar open for donations to go to Friends of Friends throughout his reign.
In its 15 years of existence, Friends of Friends has raised $1 million on South Whidbey. The nonprofit uses those funds to help South End residents with medical expenses and has helped 216 people to date in 2012.