DERRY — It's all going, going, and gone for a good cause.
The Derry Rotary Club hosts its annual benefit auction/yard sale on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Fireye parking lot on Tsienneto Road.
The yard sale begins at 9 a.m. with live auction starting at 9:30 a.m.
The longstanding auction has been a Rotary club staple for more than 40 years, attracting big crowds of people hoping to find that bargain price on donated furniture, toys, housewares, gift cards, and much more.
Auction co-chairman Bill Wood said the annual auction is the Rotary club's way raising money to support many community organizations and charitable efforts. Last year, the event raised more than $17,000. Wood added over the past decade, the Rotary Club has raised and donated about half a million dollars to support charities and other community efforts.
"Everything we raise goes back to the community," Wood said.
The Derry Rotary Club began in Derry on Sept. 13, 1970 and currently has about 26 members. The club is very active throughout the year raising money to support many organizations including The Upper Room, Marion Gerrish Community Center, CASA, Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, First Baptist Church Food Pantry, Sonshine Soup Kitchen, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Derry.
Another big initiative is the club's efforts to support veterans. A veterans salute barbecue is held every spring, jointly hosted by the Derry Rotary and Derry Village Rotary clubs. Rotarians also support the Derry Veterans Assistance Fund.
Rotary Club member Art McLean, who will serve as an auctioneer once again at this year's event, said the annual auction will showcase hundreds of quality items, new and gently used, ranging from bids of $5 for smaller things on up to larger items.
Area businesses are also generous, McLean said, with donations of gift certificates and other services to be put on the auction block.
It's a day of community, but also a lot of hard work.
Wood will also offer auctioneer duties and said all Rotary members pitch in throughout the day, from picking up donations, erecting tents, making phone calls, or helping load up merchandise once the purchases are made.
McLean said the auction has been held for so many years, and many regulars come every year. People may come once the bidding begins and stay all day. Others will stop by and search for a certain item before holding up their number to bid. Some people win a bid on an item, then donate it back to be sold again, a sort of re-gifting to support the club.
"Most people, 90% stay the entire time," McLean said. "They are having fun, they see each other once a year, they bid against each other, Rotarians even like to bid against each other."
McLean also noted that about 10 years ago, all auction items were being stored prior to the event in a local barn. That eventually burned only two weeks before the auction. Everything was lost.
"People hear about it, the York, Maine, club heard about it, and sent us donations. We had so much stuff donated," McLean said. "It was unbelievable. We made about $25,000 that year."
Wood also thanked Fireye for the generous use of their parking lot area on auction day.
In addition to the auction and yard sale, the day includes raffles for prizes ranging from $100 up to $2,500.