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NAPLES — It wasn't a record year for the Naples Winter Wine Festival.
But it might as well have been in the eyes of 2013 event Chairman Bob Edwards.
"We had the best year ever. You guys are fabulous," he said after Saturday's auction raised more than $8.5 million in about five hours.
The amount fell short of last year's $12.4 million total, but every auction is different and organizers never know what to expect from year to year, Edwards said.
About 500 attended the event at Ritz-Carlton golf resort at Tiburon in North Naples.
Before the auction started, there was buzz that a Ferrari F12berlinetta might generate $1 million. It raised $750,000. That was the highest bid this year. The second-highest was $385,000 for a private concert with the band Chicago in Naples.
Economic concerns, including possible tax hikes, might have played a part in the lesser amount raised this year, but not a big part, Edwards said.
"You always want to have more," he said.
"Raising $1 million is exceptional in five hours," added Todd Foege, a consultant whose clients include the festival sponsors. "Raising $8.5 million in five hours is a miracle for the most needy children of this community."
About $116 million has been raised since the first wine festival in 2001.
_ Laura Layden and Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster
2013 NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL
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PAST COVERAGE: NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL
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- 2001: Get complete coverage
- SPECIAL SECTION: Find videos, photos and stories about past Naples Winter Wine Festivals »