By James Niedzinski
---- — From far-off and exotic trips to sports tickets, household services, and even a 1998 Buick, the 26th annual Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce auction tonight has something for everyone.
The event is one of the largest hosted by the Chamber each year, and the auction typically sees more than 200 people and raises $60,000 according to Robert Heidt, the Chamber’s CEO.
The auction is set for tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Essex room at Woodman’s restaurant in Essex at 121 Main St., with the auction preview set for 5 p.m. Tickets are $30 each.
Heidt said that, while artwork from local artists such as Ken Knowles fetch some of the biggest bids, there was a focus this year on items and services, such as a 100 gallons of heating oil, donated by both Scott’s Energy and Rose’s oil, or a new toilet provided by David R. Singleton Inc. of Manchester.
“If you have a need that outweighs some of those desires, we want to accommodate those as well,” Heidt said.
Some of the vacation packages featured this year include a photo safari in South Africa, a stay in Boston, a seven-day cruise and a trip to Las Vegas.
Those types of items will be featured in the online auction, which also opens tonight, so more visual items such as artwork and crafted goods can be featured at live auction tonight, Heidt said.
While the photo safari has been a big hit in the past, one of the driving forces behind this year’s auction is a 1998 Buick LeSabre, with a V6 engine and just some 58,000 miles on its odometer, courtesy of Tony Tally’s Auto Sales, the care is valued at about $3,500 and the car had one previous owner.
Heidt said he couldn’t pick a favorite item out of the lineup this year.
“If money was no object, I’d buy all of it,” he said.
This year, there are 374 items up for grabs, last year that number was closer to 500.
While the number of items is down, the paddles are still sure to rise as Heidt said Thursday close to 200 people have already reserved their spot for the auction.
The online auction can be viewed at biddingforgood.com/CapeAnnChamber, and already has a number of items listed, the online auction ends on Aug. 2. The online auction has been around for about six years and offers items to a global scale of bidders.
“Anytime someone can get away for a trip, that’s always nice,” Heidt said.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.