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Online Rotary auction open to bids from around the world

POULSBO — The Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary club has officially entered the 21st century.

The service organization’s 26th annual auction is ready to roll, and this year bidders won’t have to wait for a silent auction event to make a grab for some really great gear.

Instead, the auction will go live online at 5 a.m. March 4, and more than 130 items will be up for bid — much like they would be on eBay — through 9 p.m. April 18.

The club will still have its traditional auction event on April 19 at the Sons of Norway lodge, but space normally reserved for the silent auction tables will instead be open to more guests, as those items will already be in the hands of their lucky new owners. The club will host a live auction, filled with at least 35-40 more things for bid, that night.

Club President-Elect Dan Weedin said digitalizing the auction will allow anyone, from anywhere, to put in a bid online.

“We did the first 25 the 20th century way,” he said. “This’ll be the first year we’ve done the online auction.”

And while most bids are still expected to come from nearby areas, the online forum is still making it an easier process for locals, allowing them to log in and bid from the comfort of their own home. Still, one never knows who is surfing the Web looking for that perfect piece of art, vacation package or signed sports memorabilia.

“This way we get the opportunity to have anybody that has Internet access all over the world to bid on some of these items,” Weedin said. “It was a way to reach out and make the community at large have access to our options.”

The auction serves as the club’s main fundraiser for the year. Weedin hopes the auction can bring in $125,000. He said Rotary gave $35,000 in scholarships away last year, and this year he’s hoping to give away at least $40,000, if not more. On the online auction site, there is also an option for giving cash, all of which will go straight to the scholarship program to benefit kids at North Kitsap High School, West Sound Academy and Spectrum.

To bid on an item online, or to donate one, all that’s needed is a brief registration. Weedin said the process takes five minutes or less. Item donations are accepted through March 28, and the highest bidders will be notified of their wins via e-mail once the auction is closed.

The windfall of online items opening for bid March 4 include a 1980 signed and framed photo of the U.S. Olympic “miracle” hockey team, a signed Ichiro Suzuki Mariners jersey, a 2008 INDY 500 experience for two, a New York Broadway executive package, a Peyton Manning hand-signed Indianapolis Colts helmet, art prints, restaurant certificates, a Broadway’s Tony Awards experience for two, Mariners tickets and guitar lessons. Items for bid at the April 19 live auction include an instant wine cellar, pizza each week for an entire year and a patio fireplace.

Weedin said the live event, which will hold roughly 230 people, sells out every year. This year, the theme is Pirates of Poulsbo, and Captain Jack Sparrow himself is promised to make an appearance.

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