With traditional Taste of Columbus activities being canceled this year due to COVID-19, a virtual auction is still ongoing until Sunday night.
Central Community College-Columbus will be the co-beneficiary of this year’s event with the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce being the other.
Jeanne Schieffer, Chamber president, estimated that well over 150 items are included in the online auction, which can be found at bidpal.net/toc2020. An open house-style event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday for those wanting to look at auction items in person.
“I think we’re off to a good start. Sunday will be our last day and it’ll close at 8 p.m. That last is especially important for anybody interested in bidding,” Schieffer said, adding that participants can opt to receive text notifications when they have been outbid for an item they really want.
“We hope to see a lot of activity like that in the last hour as people realize, ‘Hey, this item is going to slip away from me.'"
Popular auction items have been packages such as golf and pontoon trips, as well as mosaic birdhouses and a repurposed dresser turned into a coffee bar.
Others among the list are items geared toward women (i.e. hair products), items geared toward men (i.e. a large tool organizer), portable cornhole boards with bags, tickets to a Larry the Cable Guy event in Omaha next weekend, gym memberships, a red wine bar, packages for car services, a smartboard, a Nintendo Switch gift set, a virtual reality headset with a one-year membership and a Roomba with several in-home cleaning services, just to name a few.
“Our businesses have been so incredibly generous and individuals have given us things as well. It’s just a nice variety…” Schieffer said.
CCC-Columbus Campus President Kathy J. Fuchser noted there are some experiences, such as visiting a local beekeeper to learn about his hives and a birdwatching experience with college instructors, are up for bid as well.
“All different price points, too. That was very important … Taste of Columbus is a little bit different this year, we don’t have 600 people gathering in place but we know that we can have many people gathering online for that philanthropic spirit but also get something to delight yourself as well,” Fuchser said.
Passports are still available, Fuchser said, which include discounts and specials to assorted restaurants and businesses. Valued at over $150, the passport costs $30.
“Passport allows for some wonderful offers for folks to go out and patronize these businesses, especially those hit by the flood in our area last year and even this year with COVID,” Fuchser said. “Every business was encouraged to create some kind of special that was important to them and offer that to Passport.”
Schieffer explained the importance of supporting the college and community at large.
“The students will be part of our workforce one day, they are the individuals that will take over one day and help support our businesses as employees and supervisors and managers,” Schieffer said.
“We’re excited to see what we can get and we’ll be grateful for whatever amount (we raise).”
Two electric bicycles, valued at $1,500 each, will be featured in a Facebook Live drawing right before the auction closes.
With the 20th Annual Taste of Columbus almost over, sights are set on next year’s event.
“As soon as we finish this one and tie a bow on it, we’ll start planning for next year’s Taste of Columbus, the recipient of whom will be Habitat for Humanity,” Schieffer said.
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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