True to his word, auctioneer Rick Doucette managed to “squeeze every red cent” out of some 200 paddle-waving bidders who filled Woodman’s Essex Room last Thursday night.
As a result, the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce’s 25th anniversary auction was “awesome,” says Chamber Senior Vice President Peter Webber.
“We made good money and had a good time,” Webber said.
As of Monday, Webber couldn’t give the Times a final official tally on Thursday night’s silent and live auction fund-raising accounts, but said bidding wars brought in some grand-slam dollar figures, he said.
Two $3,000 bids on the African Photo Safari resulted in a “photo finish” that was resolved with not one, but two safaris — donated by Kathy Kingston – going to the African-bound bidders and $6,000 going to the chamber’s coffers in a matter of minutes.
Webber himself engaged in a bidding war with none other than the auctioneer himself, when both he and Doucette set their sights on a fishing party for six from Essex’s Agawam Boat Charters.
“People said we were like a couple of gun slingers,” said Webber, who ultimately outbid Doucette to “take the trip” at $275.
On the art front, the bidding was also big on a virtual gallery of original works donated by some of Cape Ann’s most renowned artists. Artist John Terelak not only sold a painting but won a bidding war on a snazzy red Benelli motor scooter donated by Tony Tally Motor Company.
“We expect to see John zipping around Rockport any day now,” commented Webber.
But the auction, Webber emphasized Monday, is far from over.
The online auction, which launched with the live and silent auctions last Thursday, runs until 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, said Webber.
“That not only gives us access to bidders nationwide, but also gives bidders access to a terrific range of items,” he said.
It’s been five years since the chamber added an online auction to its silent and live events, and said Webber, “it’s gotten better by the year.”
This year, along with 36 big-ticket travel items — including an Alaskan cruise — there are tickets to Red Sox games, and variety of other items.
The online phase of the chamber auction is conducted at biddingforgood.com/capeannchamber — an innovative Cambridge-based online auction resource used by many nonprofit, charities and fundraising organizations. While most of the chamber’s auction items are solicited by the chamber’s auction committee, biddingforgood.com can also solicit goods and services direct from upscale retailers beyond the chamber’s and Cape Ann’s reach.
Travel packages are not just popular, but profitable. Along with exotic destinations, packaged stays at local inns and hotels, says Webber, attract a nationwide tourism market.
While Aug. 2 is the last day for the chamber’s online auction, it’s also the first day of Gloucester’s annual Sidewalk Bazaar, which runs for three days through Aug. 4, which is the first day of Manchester’s Festival-by-the-Sea.
Those events will be followed on Aug. 11 by the inaugural Gloucester Blues Festival in Stage Fort Park, followed by the Waterfront Fetsival on Aug. 18 and 19 — all of which are, to varying degrees, supported and, or sponsored by the chamber.
That may seem like a lot of events to juggle, but, says Webber, “that’s what we’re here for.”
Joann Mackenzie can be reached at 978-238-7000 x3457, or firstname.lastname@example.org.