For those in attendance at the first annual Bluffton Public Auction this past weekend, the bargains were plentiful as more than 150 items went on the block to the highest bidder.
According to Maeghan Menear, president of the Bluffton and District Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event, the objective was to raise funds for a few projects in the area.
“The Chamber came up with the idea about five months ago. We heard other chambers were holding public auctions so we decided to give it a try too,” she said. The plans for the money are to go to projects we do in our community.”
Among those projects is the revamping of the town’s memorial rock site, which is scheduled to undergo a major facelift and name change to the Bluffton Memorial Commemorative Park, which will honour and recognize both veterans and the early settlers to the area.
With the assistance of a major corporate sponsor, Menear said if all goes well, the work at the park should be completed by this coming Remembrance Day, Nov. 11. In a addition to reworking an entrance way located near the rock, a plaque of recognition will also be prominently displayed.
“We’re also looking at our small park here in Bluffton,” Menear added. “We’ve been trying to get a hold of some people to get some ‘safe play’ equipment for our children because the park is getting a little tattered so we need to spruce it up and we’re hoping to sponsor that as well.”
Construction and landscaping work aren’t the only projects underway by the Chamber, as they will also be restarting their Read and Learn Program in September, which features high-profile individuals who read to children at the Bluffton School.
Menear confirmed that one of those people will be Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins who will visit the school this October while members of the Edmonton Eskimos have also expressed an interest in reading to the kids.
As for the auction itself, the items up for bids included a wide variety of items for the home, yard and recreational enthusiasts and included sports items courtesy the Eskimos, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League.
Other items included several gift certificates for restaurants and stores, area car dealerships and several stunning works of art both original and prints.
“I think it’s going really well. We’re having a lot of fun out here, we’ve got hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill and our auctioneer is getting the prices up there,” Menear said. “There are lots of great bargains that bidders are getting in on, so I think it’s going really well. We’ve enjoyed the public coming out to our auction and the funds that have been raised will used to both start and finish some projects.”
The man behind the microphone was local auctioneer Allen B. Olson who donated his services for the fundraising auction.
Menear also announced that the Chamber will be traveling to Edmonton in October to the Provincial Legislature where they will be introduced as the Chamber of the Year by MLA and Liberal leader Kevin Taft.