It was 47 years ago when a group of people in the Mennonite community decided they would create an auction to raise money to form a school for children with intellectual disabilities. While it has had its ups and downs over the years, the auction had brought in an abundance of funds for Elmira District Community Living (EDCL), netting more than $100,000 in 2019.
This year, things are shaping up to look a little bit different as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions limit the number of people who can gather at one time. To help accommodate and ensure that everyone in the community is able to partake in the event, the 47th annual auction will take place both in person and online starting Friday.
Running in person October 30 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – the online version has been underway since October 23 – the auction will see quilts, furniture, clothing, toys and other items up for grabs in both a silent and live bidding format throughout the day.
Elmer Brubacher, chair of the auction committee, says he doesn’t know what kind of turnout they’ll see this weekend, noting the online portion has already seen strong support from the community.
“We have no idea what to expect, but we’re hoping to see pretty good results from it. The way it’s showing right now, it’s been online now for a couple of days since Saturday, and [there has been] lots of activity. There’s a quilt up at $625 already, another one at $500, and things are just looking pretty good,” said Brubacher of this year’s auction. “For some of the main items, quilts especially, new furniture and then a little bit of farm equipment, we’re going to have online, and a webcast and live auction [happening as well]. We will have that at EPAC (Elmira Produce Auction Cooperative), the auction centre, we will have a live auction going on there. And at the same time people bidding online.”
Hosted by Jantzi Auctions Ltd., the online-only auction includes items such as kitchenware, clothing, food, and more. The bigger items will be available starting this weekend, where people will be able to take part in the live auction – both online and in person for those who do not have access to the internet.
The silent auction will take place Friday – as well as the option to place a reserve bid on quilts. The fun begins Saturday at 9 a.m. with the start of the live and webcast auction. Different formats and items will be available throughout the day and can be viewed on the website.
Organizers want people to know that there is limited availability for the auction in person. Because of the limit to 50 people, tickets will be sold for $20 to ensure that people who want to be there in person can take part, while reducing the number of people inside. Outside the building will be limited to 100 people and volunteers will be on hand to ensure social distancing is practised. Tickets can be purchased through EDCL.
As the auction takes place, a bake sale will also be going on to raise funds. Located at 1251 Arthur St. N., the bake sale will also play host to a treasure table where smaller items will be sold.
The quilt auction will take place in person at 7400 Reid Woods Dr., Elmira. All money will go to support EDCL’s programs.