All for a good cause: There’s still time to bid in the annual Rotary auction

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For more than three decades, the Rotary Club of Huntsville’s annual auction has been raising funds for good causes and projects in our town. Thanks to technology, it looks a little different now than it did then, but what hasn’t changed is the generosity of both the local businesses who provide items for the auction and the people who bid on them.

“We are really blessed in this town to have the kind of donations we have received year after year,” says Rotarian Peter Redwood, who remembers when it used to be a telephone auction. When bids came in, the people on the phone would yell across the room to someone writing the amounts on a bid sheet on the wall. And it was all televised. “It was quite the activity,” laughs Redwood. “We had all kinds of action.”

With the technology today, it makes it easy for anyone to bid from anywhere. Redwood recalls a bidder who placed all of his bids from Australia and knocked off much of his Christmas shopping list while doing it. He sent someone in his stead to pick everything up, an arrangement Rotarians are happy to make in such situations.

Whether you’re trying to cross some items off your Christmas shopping list or treating yourself to an early present, you have until Sunday, December 2 to make your bids. There’s something for everyone from food and accommodations to entertainment and sports and even products for your pets—270 items in all. There are more gift certificates available this year, which allows bidders more flexibility—if you win, you can purchase whatever you want rather than bidding on a specific item.

So how do you bid?

First, register to be a bidder at huntsvillerotaryauction.com. Once you’ve registered, you can view all of the items at once or in blocks. Each block will close at a different time—you can see how much bidding time is left on the webpage for each item.

Redwood suggests making a few bids to get used to using the program so that when it comes down to the final few seconds you don’t risk losing your bid because it takes you those few seconds longer to enter yours.

The final day of bidding will be broadcast live on YourTV channel 700 from Partners Hall in the Algonquin Theatre between noon and 4:00 p.m. You can stop in and view some of the items and see the background action as Rotarians share details on-air about what’s up for grabs. You can also bid online from Partners Hall if you have a mobile device with you. Or you can follow along at home on TV or watch the bids increase real-time on the auction website.

If you are anxiously watching items that you are interested in, don’t wait until the last moment to bid. You could be outbid and therefore out of luck.

Or you can avoid the anxiety and use the bidding site’s ‘Buy Now’ feature if there’s an item you really, really want—it will close the bidding on that item, and you pay market value for it but without the tax you’d pay if you bought it in store. It’s a great way to save on Christmas shopping if you planned to buy it anyhow, and you’re supporting a good cause in the process.

After bids have closed, if you are the successful bidder you’ll have the ability to pay online. Redwood recommends doing that if you can to save yourself some time when you go to pick up your items. The pick up depot is at the Huntsville Rotary Train Station (100 Forbes Hill Drive) and will be open from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 2 and again on Monday, December 3 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday, December 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All of the funds raised in the auction are used by Rotary to fund local projects and support various organizations like the YWCA Muskoka youth programs, the Salvation Army, and others who help people in need. And the Rotary Club of Huntsville continues to work toward its commitment of $100,000 to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

To learn more about the auction and register as a bidder, visit huntsvillerotaryauction.com.

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