June 18, 2022 — June 4 was an evening off to the races as the Rotary Club of Florence brought back its in-person auction to raise money for local scholarships. More than 100 people attended the auction and dinner at Florence Events Center, many dressing for the occasion.
Every year, the auction has a fun theme, and this one was no exception. “Derby Dollars for Rotary Scholars” featured jovial jockeys, feathery fascinators, towering top hats and other head ware as people celebrated the Kentucky Derby theme.
Even more important is the amount that Rotary is able to raise with the event. Auction Co-Chairs Kevin McMullen and Kim Erickson announced the total during Rotary’s Tuesday meeting.
Since Rotary began doing the auction in 1960, the club has netted $1,746,932.75.
“It started out with a bang and $1,000 the first auction that we did, and it went down from there the next couple of years,” said McMullen, who described the early auctions as garage sales. “And then right around ’67 and ’68, in that area, which we still have members who were involved in some of those, the auction reached $1,500. And it's gradually went up from there.”
The in-person auction was last held in 2019, with the 2020 event getting canceled just days before it was scheduled.
The club held an online auction in July 2021 that netted $24,896.
“We didn't know whether we're happy or sad, but we knew it was more than we had when COVID started,” McMullen said. “This year was really nice. We were able to do our auction … and we were very successful, I believe. Was it our best auction we ever had as far as dollar wise? No. Was it one of the funnest? Most definitely. I think everybody enjoyed themselves.”
The June 4 event netted $84,767, Erickson and McMullen announced.
“In President Karen Skulley’s year, that means we’re right up over $100,000 over the two auctions,” McMullen said.
Money from the auctions goes into the club’s scholarship coffers to give out to deserving Mapleton and Siuslaw high school seniors.
Each year, the event features live and silent auctions, a dessert auction, dinner and further fundraising opportunities, often helped with students from the Siuslaw High School Interact Club.
A committee of dozens helps with decorations, organization, planning, cashiering and all the other elements that make the auctions successful.
“I know that we get a lot of a lot of credit, Kim and I do, but it's really not us. It's our committee,” McMullen said. “And the committee puts in a ton of hours into this.”
Decoration Chair Crystal Farnsworth also thanked her committee during the meeting. The chairs also thanked sponsors, donors and everyone who contributed.
“Thank you all, thank you to everybody that came, everybody that donated, everybody that was involved in Jockey George and the whole works. Without you guys, it wouldn't be successful, so thank you very much,” McMullen said.
For more information, visit www.theflorencerotary.org.