Rotary Auction moving to Sakai

With the wish list, be ready to carry a map. This year’s Rotary Auction may see as much hunting as bargain, as shoppers are thrust onto the unfamiliar terrain of Sakai Intermediate School.

“It’s all going to be there,” said Marit Saltrones, Bainbridge Rotary’s president-elect. “It’s just a question of where.”

The massive auction and rummage, slated this year for June 29, has been displaced by the extensive repairs planned at Woodward Middle School.

Rotarians were forced to track down a temporary site for the event, which draws thousands of shoppers.

“We looked at Commodore, we looked at the high school,” Saltrones said. “We even looked at the grade schools for a delusional period.”

The club settled on the smallish Sakai, for its proximity to the usual auction site and its “pleasant environment conducive to selling quality items,” Saltrones said.

If not a step backwards, it will be a step sideways for a summer ritual that each year seems about to grow beyond the physical control of its handlers.

Unlike the Woodward building, Sakai offers no large commons for the live auction, and has only a smaller outside play area.

The answer, Saltrones said, is probably to further segregate items into “departments” to be spread throughout the classrooms. The live auction will likely be held in the school gymnasium.

“We’re going to use almost every room in the building – both floors,” Saltrones said.

That move was already afoot last year, with the creation of more clothing areas and an array of cleverly arranged fine furniture displays under an outside tent.

The tent will definitely return.

“The auction has evolved over the years, and there’s more of an appreciation for fine furniture and vintage items,” Saltrones said. “The prices reflect that.”

Bolstering the Rotary efforts this year is the dramatic increase in club membership that has followed the addition of a second weekly meeting. The need for more auction people-power, Saltrones confessed, was among the reasons for the membership effort.

Last year’s event raised $210,000 – the latest in a string of sales records – money that went to various community projects and international relief efforts.

With the flagging economy, Rotarians do wonder whether islanders will be able to offer up their usual bounty of used household items, tools, clothing and oddities for resale.

They’ll find out on June 19, when drop-offs at the auction site begin. The club is already soliciting donations of vehicles and boats; pickup can be arranged by calling auction chair Howard Hanners at 842-7621.

Also, an orientation dinner for auction volunteers will be held June 5 at Woodward Middle School. For information, call Bob Linz at 780-9127.

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