The 2019 Southport Firemen’s Auction went off without a hitch Saturday, Aug. 17. The rummage sale doors were opened on schedule at 6 a.m., and not before then. According to Fire Chief Gerry Gamage, some 70 people were waiting outside, eager to find the bargains. Many had spotted the item they wanted in the days leading up to the auction, others were just hopeful of finding that certain something they could not live without. As with all rummage sales there were plenty of so-so goods but amongst them were some gems. An almost new kitchen stand mixer was seen leaving with one happy shopper, while another customer delighted in a collection of wicker baskets in all shapes and sizes.
At 7 a.m. sharp, the outside sale got underway and money changed hands for garden furniture, grills, coolers, a croquet set, a clay chimnea, a kayak with paddle and life jacket, several bicycles, Adirondack chairs, and more. As people shopped, others perused the items held back for the day’s prime event, the auction. Across the road in the school parking lot, parents and staff volunteered with Principal Lisa Clarke serving breakfast sandwiches, coffee, baked goods, juice and water.
Then came the big moment. At 9 a.m., Gamage lowered his gavel and declared the 2019 auction underway. The barn was packed with eager bidders and curious onlookers. There were the usual bureaus, chairs, sofas, tables and rugs and, as Gamage said later in the day, “You can only sell so many of those for big money.” But sell they did. By the end, there was only a small pile of unwanted furniture. Among the big ticket items were a Century runabout motorboat and a Ford pickup truck that was bought and then loaded up with all kinds of other buys! One of the boats fetched $3,500. There was a flurry of excitement when a pulled rug depicting Portland Head Light was brought up. Gamage opened the bidding at $20 and hands went up everywhere. It went for close to $100.
Said Gamage, “There weren’t many items this year that were unique or stirred a lot of interest, but bidding was steady through the day. People came to donate and have fun. And the weather was perfect: Overcast and cool ... I don’t think we lost too many to the beach. It ended around noon, which was earlier than some years, but we did move about everything and we raised close to $22,000. All around it was a good turnout and a good result. It’s really a community event. Yes, we raise money, but it’s truly about the people coming out and having fun.”