GALION — Members of the Galion business community gathered Thursday evening in an effort to pay back one of the largest local supporters of their work on a year-round basis.
The 16th Annual Galion-Crestline Chamber of Commerce Holiday Auction was held at the St. Joseph’s Convocation Center . More than 250 guests from local chamber members, their families and friends were planning to attend.
When the City of Galion was placed into fiscal emergency in 2004, funding for numerous organizations and programs were cut from the budget. The Galion-Crestline Chamber of Commerce was one the groups affected.
In order to remain in existence, the chamber had to get creative to maintain as much of its funding as possible.
“The auction is a creative event that allows our members to donate and support each other while supporting the chamber, as well,” noted Chamber Member Engagement Director Miranda Jones.
This year, 151 members contributed donations for the auction. Of those, 132 items were sold by silent auction and 54 were sold by way of live auction. Craig Miley, a local realtor and auctioneer, donates his services for the event each year.
A raffle with cash prizes is also drawn throughout the evening, with a top winner getting $1,000.
Dinner and appetizers for the event is catered by Avita and provided by the chamber for those who attend.
Over the years, the chamber has come to use this event as a way to give back while sustaining their funding from year to year. Canned goods are collected at the door from those in attendance, which are then donated to Community Action.
A cash bar is also provided by 1803 Taproom and Riverside Drive-Thru, with tips going to the Galion Golden Age Center.
Members donations this year exceeded expectations, according to Chamber President Joe Kleinknecht.
“We have some fantastic members and we appreciate their donations for this event every year,” Kleinknecht said. “We are overwhelmed by their support and are so thankful.”