Auction fun in West Pawlet
If you’ve never been, you need to go.
There is nothing quite like the excitement of a live auction complete with an auctioneer working the crowd to get the blood pumping by combining shopping and gambling all in one.
“Come on down to our auction. We’ll have fun, good food and hopefully, good weather,” West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dave Hosley said.
Hosley said he hopes everyone comes out and bids until it hurts at the department’s annual auction fundraiser held Sunday Sept. 11, beginning at noon, after being derailed by Tropical Storm Irene.
“That was kind of an oops, we didn’t want to schedule it on Sept. 11, but we had to push it back and we just need to get it done now,” the chief said.
The auction is held at the firehouse and continues until the items are gone meaning the firehouse resembles the worst, most crowded garage you’ve ever seen until the auction. For that reason alone, it’s important to get it done –also it’s a big fundraiser for the department.
This tradition has been shaking up the Sunday calm and quiet for a number of years as the genuine article live auctioneers crank up the intensity with rapid-fire, staccato calls trying to coax a few more dollars out of the interested or in some cases not so interested crowds. Hosley said the auction sees between 75 and 100 people in a good year.
It’s a tradition that runs back to the time when Bus Mars, the father of Chris Mars, part of Sunday’s auctioneer tandem, used to run the event.
The auction typically lasts until 4 or 5 p.m. and afterward what doesn’t sell goes into a big tag sale, Hosley said.
Items range from the practical, lamps and chairs, to the outlandish – a Christmas tree decorated with lobsters, buoys and other nautical decorations – and they can all be had for the right bid.
All of the items are available for viewing before the bidding begins.
The live auction, no silent bidding in this one, is run by returning auctioneers Mars and Glenn Merrill.
“A lot of people come back every year just to watch Glenn and Chris; they have quite a following,” Hosley said. “People like to hear them rattle it off,” he said. The pair donates their services to help make the annual event a special one.
Part of the fun is watching and listening as the auctioneers do their thing and work the crowds.
Hosley said the firefighters have a good time bringing up unusual items and trying to “stump the auctioneer.”
Mars and Merrill are quick on their feet, though, and don’t often get caught, but the crowd occasionally does, Hosley said.
“Sometimes when an item gets down real low, like a dollar, and a few hands shoot up in the air, he’ll go ‘one-two-three-foooour dollars’ and you’ll end up paying a little more for something than you planned,” he said with a laugh. “We have a lot of fun with them and they really try to make it a little entertaining,” Hosley said.
In the past donated items have been everything from vehicles, a car, to snow blowers, furniture, televisions and even maple syrup. “We had a boat once – you have to come out and see,” he said.
Always highly sought after among the entire auction offerings is lemon meringue pie, Hosley said. Often intense bidding contests break out for pies, which is good for the firefighters.
“You’d better bring your checkbook if you’re coming to get a pie,” firefighter Joey Mullen said.
Donated items help the department pay for needed equipment and helps out its general operating budget, Hosley said. Items typically continue to show up until Sunday morning, he said.
For more information call Chief David Hosley at 645-0158; Ron Taylor at 645-0003 or David Ricard at 645-0344.
Food, such as burgers and hot dogs and French fries will be available courtesy of the fire department auxiliary.