The Yuletide spirit was contagious Tuesday night as Ardmore residents descended on the convention center for the Festival of Lights Auction.

The total amount of money raised was not known at the conclusion of the auction as silent auction items had yet to be tabulated. But optimism was high that the event was a big success.

"Last year, we raised around $18,000 and I feel really good that we will do better this year," Mita Bates, Festival of Lights Committee member, said. "It has been awesome and the quality of donations has been great. We have great volunteers and people have come out and spent money on the Festival of Lights. I just think is shows the commitment of the community for the Festival of Lights. People are so generous."

Silent auction bidding began at 5 p.m. and ran through 6:45 p.m. as visitors had the opportunity to bid a plethora of items in three sections. At 7 p.m., the live auction began with 13 items up for grabs.

The final act of the evening drew in $9,950. High dollar winning bids were placed on trips to New York and Colorado as well as a choice of ILipo or Venus Freeze. The highest bid, $2,000, was placed on a night at the Lake Murray Bed and Berth Atrium.

Nancy Sjulin was also a big winner as she won a 1/3 carat diamond, as part of a fundraising event. Guests were able to purchase one of 50 drinks for $20. The diamond was frozen into the ice of Sjulin's drink. There were also a few cubic zirconium stones placed in some of the drinks.

"I was like, oh my gosh," Sjulin said. "It was a huge surprise, it made my night. I'm not sure what I will do with it yet."

The diamond was valued at $1,100.

Helping make the Festival of Lights Auction a success Tuesday night were committee members Myiesha Antwine, Candy Davidson, Leslie Hicks, Elsie Johnson, Kay Laske, Stephanie Schwartz, Cary Williamson, Denise Airington, Janet Bateman, Jennifer Crosby, Melinda Shoemate, Annilisa Peevy, Sjulin and Bates.