Tuesday, December 18, 2007

what's a loonie auction?

I'd never heard of one either until we moved here. Seems they are very popular in these parts. And the one held here in Endako is the most popular of all. It started as a way to raise funds for renovations to the community hall and has grown into a huge, much anticipated annual event. We have the added bonus of a supper, to which we sell tickets, and the community hall isn't big enough to fit all that want to attend.

In a normal auction an item is bidded on and the price keeps going up until no one wants to pay any more and the last bidder gets it. A loonie auction doesn't work that way, and in my opinion, whoever thought of this was brilliant. Items and services are donated, in advance, by local businesses and members of the community and displayed on a table. The auctioneer holds a bucket full of numbered poker chips. Each member of the audience has a sheet of paper, pencil and a supply of loonies. Around the room are several people with baskets and their job is to collect loonies. When an item is up for bid, participants put up their hands. As the auctioneer acknowledges each one he pulls a poker chip, reads the number on the chip to that bidder who writes the number down and puts a loonie in the basket. The poker chip goes into a different bucket. This goes on and on for who knows how long....depends on how popular the item is. People can buy more than one number if they want to. When the bidding stops, the auctioneer pulls from the "purchased" poker chips and whoever has that number gets the item. Many, many dollars can be raised for an item, with the winner having only paid one or two.For instance, we put a nice crisp $100 bill in a frame. Everyone was willing to spend $1 for a chance at it (and boy, the loonies were flying). It brought in $221.

So, that's a loonie auction in a nutshell. A great way to raise funds. People have fun and they don't have to be rich to participate.


Viki said...

There is an annual event in Whitehorse that I've attended a few times where they host a loonie auction. It was once called Chinese auction. Our friend Tom conducts the auction and remembers everyone's name. Quite the performance, and a ton of fun.

Carol Browne said...

Yah. I didn't think auctioning off crazy people would be very lucrative. I think this is much better than the "silent" auctions that I've attended.

Anne said...

This is a fabulous idea. I can see it spreading across the country. Too bad we live so far apart. I'd have tossed in a few loonies for a chance at that lovely C note.