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CK Chamber auction raises over $5000

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By Kellie Parkin

Approximately 100 people turned out for the Chamber of Commerce annual auction held Sunday at the historic Island Hotel on 2nd Street.

A total of 65 bidding cards were assigned, according to Chamber Office Manager Judy Johnson.

The auction raised over $5,000, which is more than last year, Johnson said. The auction is the Chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year and all proceeds benefit Chamber business.

Matt Warren was the auctioneer, filling in for previously scheduled Chad “Cracker” Johnson, who was unable to make it.

Warren lives in Chiefland where he works for Usher Land and Timber Company.

“I do this on the side for fun,” Warren said. “I really enjoy it.”

Auction goers were impressed with his ability and personality.

“He could squeeze pennies from a turnip,” said bidder number 43. “He could get $50 for a $25 gift certificate – he’s that good.”

In 1995, Warren went to auctioneer school in Kansas City. “I wanted something fun and different to do.” He works about a dozen auctions a year.

To open the auction, Warren started with a bit of humor.

“Some of you may be worried about your money,” he said. “Look at this way: if you die with that money – you go to one place, you don’t need it. You go to the other place – it’s going to burn up.”

Items auctioned ranged from art and antiques to fishing trips and lodging accommodations – and everything in between.

Dean Van Bemmel of Jacksonville purchased a $100 savings bond from Perkins Financial Group for $65 and a framed poster of egrets with a recycle message for $20.

Although not his first time to the island, this was his first Chamber auction. “It was great, I loved it.” Van Bemmel said he also had fun driving the prices up as he bid on several other items throughout the auction. “I enjoyed it very much.”