Pink Pumpkin

Getting ready for the auction

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[October 07, 2019]  Before a day like this happens, there is much work to be done to get it all together. The core committee for the auction is Cindy Guyett, Karen Hargis, Roy Logan and Nila Smith. These four started meeting weekly in May, talking about goals for the fall auction and who to engage as partners for the event.

Those who donate are vital, and the group talked about the donors at last year’s event, and made plans to reach out to those folks to ask them to do it again. Then they approached the idea of a silent auction and started developing a plan.

They had anticipated for this year, 50 pink pumpkins for the live auction and possibly 50 silent auction items that could be pink-themed but did not necessarily have to be.

A list of folks to talk to about each of the auction components was put together by Hargis and Logan with Guyett and Smith adding a few as well. What came out in the end though was that in addition to those that were on the list, there were people calling and reaching out saying they also wanted to be a part of the event. Even in the last hour before the auction, donations were still walking in the door. It was overwhelming and gratifying to see so many people who wanted to be a part of this important fundraiser.


Other big contributors behind the scenes included Noah Atkinson at Lincoln Printers. Noah has become an honorary member of the relay team because he does so much to help promote the event. This year he not only printed a large number of signs advertising the events, he added stickers that were given out Thursday evening to auction winners showing that they support breast cancer awareness and the Pink Pumpkin Project.

Another behind the scenes helper that means a great deal to the event is Gail Apel-Sasse of Gail’s Pumpkin Patch. Lincoln Daily News provides the plastic pink pumpkins for the donors to use as the base of their arrangements if they wish. They also have the option to use a real pumpkin and Gail’s provides those pumpkins upon request, free of charge.

In addition, Gail sets up the fall arrangements that are at the front door of Collision Concepts as guests arrive at the beginning of the night.

In 2018, the Logan County Fair Royalty played the role of “Vanna” for the auction. This year, as soon as the new 2019 royalty was selected, the committee reached out to Fair Queen Coordinator Bethany Rademaker and asked if the three young ladies would once again help out with the auction.

All three were present Thursday night and did a wonderful job of assisting auctioneer Mike Maske with the live auction. Thanks so much to Miss Logan County Fair Queen Skye Kretzinger, Junior Miss Logan County Anna Kindred and Little Miss Logan County Jolie Grisham for coming and helping out.

Before the auction can happen there is a ton of work to do in the back shop area. This year, Erv and Cindy Guyett decided that they would close their shop at noon, allowing a few extra hours for cleaning and setting up. When they closed up shop for the day, the guys in the shop set to work. All the vehicles were moved out, precautions were taken to assure the safety of guests as they came into the shop, and there was a lot of floor cleaning that took place. When they were done, guests came into a spotless area with floors so clean you could probably eat off them.

When it was time, the guys in the Collision shop also helped with setting up tables and chairs for the evening and at the end of the night made quick work of cleaning up and clearing out the shop so it would be ready for work the next morning. Thanks so much to the Collision Concepts crew for all they did.

In 2018 the auction required about eight tables and 50 chairs that the committee borrowed from the Logan County Fair Association. Hargis, Logan, Smith and Richard Smith loaded up their cars and trucks and hauled all that to Collision and set it up for the auction night. This year, the committee determined that they would need about 20 tables and that was going to take more than a couple trips in the committee vehicles.

Illinois American Water stepped up and volunteered to go to the fairground, get the tables and chairs with multiple vehicles. They delivered the tables and chairs to the Collision Concepts shop on Friday morning, came back out collected them all afterward and returned them to the fairground. That was a tremendous time saver for the committee and was very much appreciated. Illinois American Water in Lincoln is often on hand to help out with events and activities in the community. They seldom toot their own horn about it so we’re going to do the tooting for them. They are a great group that does a lot to make our town a better place. Thanks so much!

Last year, Mitch Douglas volunteered his time and talents to take official photos of all the winners of auction items. This year Douglas did the same again. With help from the fourth grade classes at Northwest School, a backdrop was set up in a special room and Douglas grabbed as many as were willing as they came away from the auction and got those shots that are included in today’s coverage of the event.

Mitch’s wife Margie also created a delightful auction item again this year, as well as purchased one!

The backdrop for the pictures was created by the students of Mrs. Dietrich and Mrs. Millers Fourth Grade classes at Northwest School. Early in the planning, the core committee talked about the backdrop and doing something to make it more special and personal for the event. The idea came to mind to ask one of the District 27 schools to help out. That idea was followed immediately with the selection of one specific person to help – Tammy Dietrich. Mrs. Dietrich is a huge supporter of Relay for Life, participating each year at the June event. She also works to coordinate a Relay Recess project at Northwest and in partnership with Adams School.

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The Relay Recess program teaches youngsters about cancer of all kinds, and also helps them understand healthy lifestyle choices they can make to reduce their risk of cancer.

Mrs. Dietrich along with Mrs. Miller were excited about the idea and instantly said yes they would love to help. When school started this fall, a nice piece of plywood was delivered to the school by RP Lumber and the children were excited to get started. When they were finished, the students all signed the bottom of the board.

Thank you to all the young artists who contributed to this project. They all did a terrific job!

A big part of the evening has to be the food, of course! Cindy Guyett and some of her besties put together the food that included finger foods and plenty of sweet treats.

New this year was an offering from Brad and Jennifer Luckhart of Nuthatch Hill BBQ. The Luckharts brought in their BBQ Sundaes which were made up of pulled pork barbecue, baked beans and coleslaw. The food was a big hit, and the Luckharts donated every bite to the event.

Thanks to Brad and Jennifer for that amazing addition to the menu.

In addition to the food, the Luckhart’s also lent out Daisy the pink pig for a kiss at the auction. Some may know that Daisy had kind of a bad experience in 2018 at the Illinois State Fair in 2018. During a horrific storm one night at the fair, security ordered that everyone shut down their vendor areas and take shelter, during which Daisy disappeared.

It took a while, but Daisy was finally recovered and returned home with the Luckharts, a little worse for wear and needed some repairs. Brad Luckhart called Collision Concepts to help him out and in no time at all Daisy looked not only as good as new, she looked better. Erv Guyett had the notion that Daisy, being as pink as she was, would be the perfect addition to the Pink Pumpkin Auction in 2019. The Luckharts agreed that they would enjoy having Daisy contribute to raising awareness for Breast Cancer.

On Thursday, Daisy arrived at the shop and she first got a nice bath then a fresh coat of wax and was wheeled into the front room where she was prominently displayed throughout the evening. Guests were invited to give Daisy a big ole’ smooch and if they felt so inclined could also drop a dollar or two in the donation box at Daisy’s feet. Several did, including Queen Skye and her younger counterparts.

On the night of the auction there are people who work to assist in making sure everything gets done, and don’t get to attend the auction because they have volunteered to help in those other areas.

Thanks so much to Amanda Weyant for her help. Amanda works the front desk at Collision. On Thursday evening she manned the beverage table assisting guests as needed. She also later returned to her desk where she processed debit and credit card payments for buyers as needed.

From CCAonline, Lisa Ramlow and Bobby Snyder along with Bobby’s daughter Devyn filled the role of cashiers for the night.

For Amanda, Bobby, Devyn and Lisa, this was no small task. With payments coming in at the end of the night to the tune of more than $12,000, all four were kept quite busy after the auction.

This year, adding credit and debit payments was new for the auction. It was not without its wrinkles, but these four ladies have already offered suggestions on how to make that run smoother, and yes, notes are already being compiled for 2020 and year number three!

Finally, an auction cannot be an auction without an auctioneer, and one of the best we’ve ever known, was more than happy to donate his time and talents to the event. Mike Maske of Mount Pulaski is known for his generosity and willingness to serve the community through donations of his time and talent. He is also very, very good at getting people to part with their money!

Throughout the night, Maske nudged every bidder to take just one more shot, and even had one fellow bidding against himself for a while.

It was a fun night, and the excited bidder just added to the upbeat tempo of the event. As Maske was working the floor, selling what would end up being one of the bigger sellers of the night – Molly the Minion created by Carol Charron, the bidder hit the $600 mark and Maske was still getting bids. The fellow then bid again, and then again. When he had bid against himself a couple of times, Maske stopped the auction and asked him if he knew he was bidding against himself, and the man said he did indeed. So, instead of calling it to a halt, Maske then said “well then just for fun, you wanna make it $700?” The bidder agreed, and Molly the Minion ended up being the second highest selling item of the night.

After the auction, the winning bidder, the Roddick Family, asked for a photo with the one who had made Molly. Carol Charron and Rick Charron of Charron Auto Repair in Lincoln were happy to oblige.

So, thanks, once again "thank you" is not a big enough to express the appreciation of the Pink Pumpkin Auction Committee for Mike Maske and his invaluable contribution to the success of the evening.

[Nila Smith with photos by Mitch Douglas, Karen Hargis, Nila Smith and Perry Zubeck]

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