It's a milestone year for the Presque Isle Rotary Club's signature fundraising and community-building event, and organizers have big plans and many changes in store for the 70th Annual Rotary Auction.

Presque Isle Rotary

For the first time in two decades, the auction will return to WAGM-TV, which had previously hosted the broadcast for many years.  In addition to airing live on the station's Fox affiliate station (channel 12 for area Spectrum Cable subscribers) on Saturday, December 16, beginning at 12:00 noon and running through 7:00 p.m., the Auction will also be webcast on wagmtv.com.

"It's a homecoming of sorts for the Rotary Auction, and we couldn't be more excited," said Jason Parent, who along with fellow Rotarian Clint Deschene, is co-chairing this year.  "There are not many organizations that can boast an event that has run for seven decades.  We wanted to do a little something different and add some new features this year to mark this impressive occasion.

The broadcast moving from the Community Cable Access station operated by the former Time Warner Cable back to the northern Maine's only commercial television station is not the only notable change. The traditional consecutive three-weeknight, three-hour per night auction broadcast the week after Thanksgiving is, this year, a one-day (Saturday), seven-hour production in mid-December.

Other changes past viewers/bidders can look forward to are consecutive, fast-paced ten-minute auction boards featuring twelve items.  Every fourth board, called a Big Board, will feature higher valued items, typically dubbed one-night and three-night items in recent past auctions.  Listings of items up for bid will be available in printed format and on-line, but TV auction viewers will see electronic auction listings that describe the item, show the retail value, current bid, and time remaining to call in and bid all on their screens.

According to both Parent and Deschene, the changes are designed to make the auction broadcast more interactive, fast-paced, and easier to follow and place bids for viewers across Aroostook County and even Western New Brunswick.  The organizers expect the more advance promotion and broader regional broadcast reach that WAGM will offer will increase both the number of viewers and bidders.

For the first time ever, the Rotary Club will open a Rotary Auction Store in the Aroostook Centre Mall.  An official opening is set for November 18 in the former Deb Store just off the Food Court.  The store will open weekends through December 17th when it transitions to the spot for successful TV Auction bidders to pick up their items.The Rotary Auction Store will have exclusive items up for bid, not offered on the broadcast, that patrons can place bids on using silent auction sheets.  Shoppers will also have the opportunity to "Buy It Now" for ten percent above the retail price noted - with all proceeds going to the auction.

For more information on the 70th Annual Rotary Auction, contact Parent at jparent@acap-me.org or Deschene at deschenec@sad1.org.

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