By Anna Smith
This year’s Pumpkin Auction for the Foremost Municipal Library brought the community together for fun and fundraising.
It was a good night, said Library Board Chair Stewart Payne, though it was a long day of preparation for the board members who organized and ran the event. The crowd certainly brought the energy that has historically made the auction a night to remember, though Payne notes it was a smaller crowd than usual.
“History shows us that we have about 100 bidders at the live auction. This year with, you know, conflicting events happening elsewhere, we only had just over 50 bidders,” said Payne. “So competition for the items wasn’t really there a lot that night. But we appreciate the visitors that did show up and their willingness to support the library.”
The live auction was held alongside an online silent auction, which ran for several days before and after the event, until November 1. This idea was initially brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has persisted in various ways since, alongside the return of the live auction in the Foremost Community Hall on November 27.
“Prior to COVID, we did a live auction with a silent auction area in the back, then COVID made us do 100 per cent online,” said Payne. “And then when the restrictions relaxed and we could finally meet as a group and public, we kind of did a hybrid where we had an online portion of the auction, and then a live portion. This year, we decided to overlap them so that we could, during the live auction, remind people that there was an online auction still going on.”
Payne estimates that they raised roughly $6,000 in the live auction, and according to the online auction’s hosting site, the total raised there was $5,403.
This is under historical amounts, but every dollar will go towards the operation budget of the library, and for that, every penny counts.
“The auction isn’t to make a deal on a gift certificate, they’re there to support the library and then it’s nice to end up with something,” said Payne. “So most of the time they get certificates for more value than they’re worth, for example a gift certificate for $100 goes for more than $100 and that’s to show that evidence of support of the community and willing to support the library.”
With the cost of operation climbing each year, the library is truly grateful for the support, and would like to remind anyone interested in pledging further support that they do take donations at any point in the year, not just during their annual fundraiser, including via an online portal on their website.