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Annual Charles City Rotary Radio Auction is Saturday morning, with thousands of dollars of items up for bid

By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

Thousands of dollars worth of merchandize, meals, getaways and gift cards will be on the auction block Saturday morning, Feb. 4, at the annual Charles City Rotary Club’s radio auction.

“We have 110 items, which is wonderful, but that’s the max that I can sell,” said Rotarian Tammy Elthon, who has been organizing the annual fundraising event since it began 13 years ago when she was club president.

The value of donated auction items this year is more than $7,600, she said.

Annual Charles City Rotary Radio Auction is Saturday morning, with thousands of dollars of items up for bidThe auction will run from 9 a.m. to noon on radio station KCHA, 95.9 FM.

Rotary Club guest announcers will list and describe items on the air, and a few items will be on the auction block at any one time. Latest bids will be updated as they occur, with bid deadlines for the different items occurring throughout the morning and the winning bidders announced on the air as each item sells.

People can bid on the items they are interested in by calling 641-228-1000 with their name, phone number, bid item and amount of bid. No early bids will be accepted.

Items to be bid on this year include a wide range of gift certificates; retail products including health care, electronics, tools, clothing, appliances and home furnishings; gift packages; memberships; events; automotive services and car washes; and events and trips.

The annual club event raises thousands of dollars that are returned to the community through scholarships and in Rotary projects. And for the second year, the club is partnering with another community group – this time Central Preschool – to split the proceeds.

Last year the club partnered with another group for the first, time, working with TLC: The Learning Center to help fund that group’s move into its new home in the former middle school building.

This year half of the amount raised will go to Central Preschool, for its general operating expenses.

“We really like the partnering,” said Elthon, adding that she thinks it’s likely to continue as part of the annual event.

She said there will a combination of regular favorite items on the auction block Saturday morning, along with a lot of new items.

“We have a couple of new experiences, and experiences are always our best bets. Like we have tickets to two different dates to Gallagher Bluedorn (Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls) for ‘The Book of Mormon.’ That’s kind of unique,” she said.

“We have the overnight stay, which is a family experience, donated by the Central Preschool board, which is the water park over at Prairie du Chien, and they even included a $50 gas card and a whole basketful of cool road trip kids snacks to get you to the waterpark,” Elthon said.

Other packages include a two-night stay at the Otter Ridge Cabin at the Tosanak Recreation Area, and two Green Bay Packers pre-season tickets that typically include free player autograph sessions, stadium tours and the Packers Hall of Fame.

“That’s pretty cool if you’re a Packers fan,” Elthon said.

“We have our traditional item that we have a few people fight for and the bids go crazy on, which is the 10 50-pound bags of softener salts, that are delivered and carried to your basement or wherever you want them, in a 15-mile radius of Charles City or Nashua,” she said. “You’d be surprised, having it delivered and carried in, the battle that has every year. They pay way above and beyond the value of that, and we kind of look forward to that every year.”

After the auction is over Saturday morning, Elthon will open up her business, Circle K Communications, at 1003 5th Ave., from 1-3 p.m. Saturday for winning bidders to pick up their items.

“I really encourage people to come and get their items,” she said, emphasizing that time from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, because having the people get their items is as important as selling them.

All items auctioned off are donated by area businesses and organizations, or purchased by Rotary members and donated to the auction.

Elthon said that sometimes Rotary members will make a deal with a business such as getting an item for half price, because the business knows it will be donated to the auction, or the member will buy one gift card if the business throws in another gift card.

Last year the club raised $7,686, which was split with TLC. Elthon said she hopes each year that the club will raise as much or more than the value of the donated items, and it usually works out pretty close. Some items sell for more than retail value, especially when a bidding war erupts, and some sell for less.

Beside the additional auction item donations that a partner group like Central Preschool brings in, it can attract the attention of more people, Elthon said

“The partners help us advertise it. That’s huge,” she said. “We need to get people listening and people bidding, and so they share all the information, all the Facebook posts on their sites and with their people. Last year we did have some new people that we hadn’t heard from before – we had a new group bidding. I do like that.”

More information and a complete list of items available for bid can be found by clicking the Rotary Radio Auction link on the Charles City Rotary home page,

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