The 71st annual Orono-Old Town Kiwanis Club Summer Auction will be held this week, from July 20-22.
The local Kiwanis Club is 82 years old this year. Its auction tradition started in Old Town at Victory Field and then moved to Orono behind Pat Farnsworth’s barn on South Main Street; when the club outgrew this venue it purchased its current site, a 17-acre parcel on Forest Avenue in Orono, in 1976.
What started as one large storage barn has now grown to seven structures designated for different uses. These include the Trash Barn (with typical yard sale stuff), Treasure Barn (some antiques and other valuable items), the Toy Barn, sporting goods, a hot dog booth, furniture, and the White Goods Barn. All items in these areas are available for immediate purchase each night starting at 5 p.m. The main auction, meanwhile, starts each night at 7 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. or a bit later; the auction display area is covered, as well as the bidders’ and viewers’ area.
Special auction items include a retired American Girl Doll (Molly); several collectible porcelain dolls, including one Franklin Mint Cinderella; several Holiday Barbie Dolls from the 1990’s in original boxes; and one Millennium Barbie in original box.
Auction items are picked up during almost the entire year, with local Kiwanians soliciting new merchandise for the auction each spring. The club’s charities division is an approved 501c3 organization allowing donations to be tax deductible.
Records dating back 20 or so years show the auction has raised more than $2 million, which it uses during the year to help fund local civic and school organization. The Orono-Old Town Kiwanis Club during that time has sponsored scouting, Crossroads Ministry, community libraries, local school clubs, community youth sports teams, the Orono and Old Town Libraries, the Old Town Orono YMCA, Dirigo Boys and Girls State, the Memorial Day Parade, Orono Bicentennial, Orono Festival Days, Old Town Riverfest, Relay for Life, Special Olympics, the Ronald McDonald House, Ann’s House, EMMC Cancer Care, Camp Sunshine, Angel Flights, Camp Capella, and Lifeflight.