What the heck is quarter auction?
There are many variations, however I’ll review here the basic format of those we hold locally. Minor differences may exist from one event to another.
Quarter Auction events are raffle fundraisers sponsored by a local charity or non-profit. They can be held once for that non-profit or, be set up to repeat on a quarterly or monthly basis. The items for raffle are anything from jewelry, candles, skin care or cosmetics, sandals, soaps, kitchen products, food lines, gift cards and baskets. Most of the raffle items are provided by the participating vendors however, the charity can also secure in-kind donations to be part of the raffle.
As a quarter auction participant, you’ll want to arrive at doors open time – bring a supply of quarters and your friends! I recommend a couple rolls of quarters. The number of friends is up to you – if you have a group of 6 or more, let me know and I’ll reserve you a table!
When you arrive, you’ll first rent your play paddle (or 2 or 3 – depending on how you want the odds to work for you!). The paddles are generally $3 each or two for $5, but you’ll find events that will roll the cost of a meal and your first paddle into one price. When you rent your paddle(s), a poker chip matching your paddle number will go into a draw container used to draw winning raffle numbers throughout the event. Paddles are returned at the end of the event to be used in future quarter auction events.
You will also have an opportunity to buy 50/50 tickets and visit the individual vendor tables to register for door prizes. The vendors will have cash and carry items for sale, so you can get a little shopping in too! There will likely be food and beverage to purchase. The paddle rental money, half the 50/50 ticket sales, quarters bid on the charity’s raffle items all go to the charity!
When the auction begins, each item will be presented and raffled, one by one. You will use your quarters and paddles for a chance to win, but no fear! The number of quarters does not go up, but rather you “bid” the requested number of quarters (typically 2-3) on the item for a chance to win that item! The retail value of the item determines the number of quarters required per paddle to bid. For example, 2 quarters for an item with retail value of $20-$34, 3 quarters for retail of $35-$50, and anything over $50 retail value is 4 quarters or an old-fashioned paper dollar! This can vary occasionally, but generally speaking, this is the schedule followed.
Once you deposit the required number of quarters per paddle (quarters are dropped into bowls on the table and collected) you raise your paddle in the air. We will begin drawing numbers from the chips matching the rented paddles. If your number is called you had put your quarters in, you win! If the number called didn’t participate, numbers continue to be pulled until a number is called for someone who has bid and has their paddle in the air! Then on to the next auction item.
Usually there are 2 raffle rounds with a break between 2 rounds – to make sure you’ve registered for the door prizes and get another refreshment. 2 auction rounds, a door prize round, and a drawing for the 50/50 winner. Good, clean fun for those 18 and older, that don’t require a lot of money to play!