From humble beginnings, an auction like no other | Guest Column | June 12


Veterans of the annual Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale are still awed by the event and wax poetic about what it means to them and to our community.

Norm Davis, last year’s chair, explains it this way: “It’s about putting community above self and also about perfect recycling – you donate your time and your ‘stuff,’ you buy other stuff, and it all comes back to benefit the entire community.” 

For the volunteers, it’s a week filled with sorting, cleaning and displaying acres of donations at Woodward Middle School.

“Former citizens return for the week to help out; friendships are renewed and stories are shared around meals and at the receiving curb,” Davis says. “To the citizens who donate items no longer being used, it’s a safe and convenient way to recycle.

To the shoppers, it’s the best organized second-hand treasure sale in the region. To everyone involved it’s a great spring cleaning event.”

Bob Linz, president of Bainbridge Rotary and the auction’s volunteer coordinator, is sentimental about the event.

“My favorite fun is watching the little kids,” he says, with a twinkle is his eye. “One tyke simply got on a small bicycle and started to ride away with it.

“The volunteer who saw it happening realized the little guy had no idea that Rotary actually wanted someone somewhere to pay for it.

“Acting quickly, she was able to find the nearby parental unit and money changed hands before the little one rode off into the sunset.

At the auction we have it all – laughter, zeal, opportunity, companionship, community, good-natured shoulder rubbing and more than enough goodies to go around.”

Charlie Averill, a past president of the club, is into the auction’s history.

“The first Rotary Auction was held in 1960, after local residents decided to build a public library,” he says.

“So, the Rotary Club decided to help out and raised $5,663 for library construction. The second year we raised $3,000 more to furnish it.”

This is the 49th year for the event, now held over two days at Woodward Middle School on Sportsman Club Road.

The silent and live auctions are on Friday evening, featuring donations from area merchants.

It’s “silent” between 4-7 p.m. and ‘live’ at 7-9 p.m. Unlike most charitable auctions, Rotary does not charge a “buyer’s premium” fee to support the cost of holding the event. Your bid is the final amount due.

Entry to Friday night’s festivities is a $1 donation, which also allows you to map out your plan for the next day’s rummage sale.

The sale’s preview runs concurrent with Friday night’s Silent Auction.

Then, hang onto your hats as the rope drops Saturday morning to herald the start of the largest rummage sale you can imagine!

Sale donations will be accepted at Woodward for five days, beginning June 20 at 7 a.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m. on June 24.

“Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale time is upon us,” says Linz.

“Imagine a block party for thousands of people – a garage sale covering a 10-acre site with more goodies than you can possibly get to in the time you have. You can spend five or six hours looking for treasures at good prices and come home empty handed and still have fun.”

Bob Shannon is the Master of Ceremonies for the Rummage Sale.

Dates to remember

June 20-24 – Donations received at Woodward Middle School

June 26 – Silent Merchant Auction and Rummage Sale Preview, 4-7 p.m.; Live Auction 7-9 p.m.

June 27 – Rummage Sale, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information, visit www.BainbridgeIslandRotary.org or call 206-842-9111.

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