WINCHESTER — After missing a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Evans Home Doll Auction is making a comeback.
The popular annual fundraiser for the Henry and William Evans Home for Children — a nonprofit organization at 330 E. Leicester St. that provides shelter and services for area youth who have been abused or neglected — is scheduled to return from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, 901 Amherst St. in Winchester.
Eight dolls dressed in unique, handmade outfits crafted by local artisans will be on the auction block, and all proceeds will benefit the Evans Home.
Since the auction began 52 years ago, some of the more successful ones have brought in $20,000 or more through purchases and donations.
The amount of money raised usually hinges on the number of dolls available for auction. Izzy Brewer, administrative assistant for the Evans Home, said some previous auctions have featured as many as 26 dolls.
This weekend's auction will be the first for Amy Rice, who became executive director of the Evans Home last month, and the last for Marc Jaccard, the nonprofit's executive director since 1999 whose retirement takes effect at the end of the year.
On Wednesday, Jaccard explained how the well-dressed dolls go from concept to creation.
"Undressed dolls are picked up [from the Evans Home] in the middle of summer by fantastic artists who take them home and decide what kind of person they want to create," he said. "They bring them back sometime after Thanksgiving and they're judged [by a three-member panel of community volunteers]. After they're judged, we have an auction."
The judges award ribbons in a variety of categories, but the most coveted is the grand prize ribbon. This year, that honor went to Betsy Sibert of Winchester for her Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival-inspired doll named Bloom.
Sibert said she spent months perfecting Bloom's dress, hat, handbag and flower basket.
"I stick with something until I finish it," she said on Wednesday. "I drive myself crazy doing this because if it doesn't look right when I'm finished, then I start all over. I'm one of those."
Sibert said she has been designing outfits for the Evans Home Doll Auction since 2007 and has scored the annual grand prize on five occasions.
"My love of dolls goes back my entire life," she said. "I still have a doll my grandfather gave me when I was 13."
The most well-known doll Sibert ever made for the auction was 2012's Harleena Davidson, which she designed in the likeness of Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland. She said the idea was given to her by the Evans Home, which was hoping to auction a doll that resembled Millholland's appearance in a womanless beauty pageant he participated in earlier that year to raise money for charity.
"The doll was dressed in all leather, had a blonde mustache and a Harley hat," Sibert said, explaining the outfit was a nod to the mustached Millholland's love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Millholland himself submitted the winning bid, Sibert said, "and he still has it in his home."
Admission to Sunday's Evans Home Doll Auction at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is free but anyone wishing to attend is asked to RSVP by calling 540-662-8520. For more information about the event, visit evanshome.org.