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YMCA auction rocks Roaring ’20s

The 18th annual Monmouth-Independence YMCA auction is Friday.

Natascha Cronin
The 18th annual Monmouth-Independence YMCA auction is Friday.

INDEPENDENCE — The Monmouth-Independence YMCA auction is back, in its 18th year – and this year, the party is going back to the Roaring ’20s.

“The (Central) high school jazz band comes,” said Natascha Cronin, vice president of youth development. “It’s Green Villa Barn — let’s just do it.”

Jazz and generosity

What: 18th annual Monmouth-Independence YMCA auction: A Roaring ’20s-themed Christmas Party.

When: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Where: Green Villa Barn, 3215 Independence Highway, Independence.

Admission: Tickets are $40 each, or $300 for a table.

For more information: 503-399-2753, or

Cronin has spent the last couple of weeks decorating and designing for the event with the ’20s theme, and everything is glitter and gold.

Last year, the auction raised $21,000 for local families and kids to participate in programs at the Y. This year, Cronin hopes to shatter that goal, but is approaching it in a different way.

The silent auction contained more than 200 items last year, Cronin said.

“It was too much,” she said. “There was too much stuff. People couldn’t keep track of what they were bidding on. They didn’t know what was there, and people weren’t bidding against each other.”

This year, Cronin has limited the silent auction to about 100 bigger items.

“I have a lot of really big gift baskets that are worth $200 to $300 each,” she said. “It’s a little bit risky, but I feel that there might at least be some bidding going on between people.”

The live auction, emceed by County Commissioner Mike Ainsworth, will likely garner some healthy competition between bidders, from Blazer tickets to a Traeger, from a private visit from the Easter Bunny to a private Super Bowl party for eight with all-you-can-eat food and six pitchers of beer from the Gym Bar and Grill.

One of the more popular items from last year will be back on the auction block: dinner at Sam’s House.

Cronin has spent time this year doing research by attending other auctions, and plans to streamline things at this year’s event. Rather than counting how many scholarships people will donate, she said she will offer bidders the chance to donate lump sums.

The games this year will include a chance to win wine tastings for eight with food, or a bottle of wine, depending on how good you are at a game involving corks and a corn-hole inspired board.

People will receive three corks for $20, giving them three chances to win a tasting package or a bottle of local wine.

A grub grab will give participants the chance to win gift certificates from local restaurants, including a $50 card from McMenamins.

Dinner is a choice of beef, salmon or vegetarian. Local businesses come together to donate to the event each year, meaning more of the money raised goes straight to kids in the community, Cronin said.

This year, Ovenbird donated rolls and desserts; The Grove donated the coffee; Cash and Carry donated half of the beef; Roth’s donated $50 in groceries; Fresh and Local donated salad greens; and churches let the Y use their tables and linens.

“We’ve been able to reduce the cost of the event because everybody pitches in,” Cronin said. “So more of the money goes to scholarships. Ultimately, that’s what it’s about.”

The party will open earlier this year — 5:30 p.m. — and go longer. People won’t be able to pick up their items until 9 p.m.

“The high school jazz band will play a much bigger role this year,” Cronin said. “They’ll play at the beginning, and they’ll play at the very end.”

For the last 35 minutes or so, the dance floor will be open for people to do the Charleston — or whatever else moves them.

“I think a lot of people will get dressed up in the ’20s,” Cronin said.


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