50 Years' Strong: Bids Opening Soon for New Hampshire PBS Spring Auction

ANNIVERSARY YEAR OFFERINGS INCLUDE HANDICRAFTS, SPECIALTY FOODS & DINING, GETAWAYS AND HOME GOODS  

DURHAM, NH, (April 28,2023) – New Hampshire PBS is celebrating 50 years of amazing community patronage of its popular spring auction. Since 1973, generous local businesses, volunteers and loyal participants have helped raise essential funds to support station operations and programming.  This year’s month-long event will begin on Monday, May 8 and conclude on Monday, June 12.

“Fifty years of this auction reflects decades of benevolent community support,” says Peter A. Frid, president & CEO of New Hampshire PBS. “Hundreds of businesses, from larger corporations to small family-owned enterprises, continue to participate in the auction, and by extension, fund high-quality public television programming in our state. Thousands of viewers and supporters, throughout New Hampshire but also in neighboring states or from further afield, bid on items or provide items themselves. All of us at NHPBS are humbled by this continuing support for our mission, and we love to hear how much people enjoy being part of this annual effort.”

Through the history of the auction, more than 50,000 members of the public have bid on items. Every spring, about 1,800 different items are available, donated by individuals, businesses, and organizations representing millions of dollars’ worth of goods and services over the decades.  

“We are able to secure the most amazing donations, and people just love going online and bidding,” says Diane LaRochelle, NHPBS auction manager. “Local businesses get valuable exposure, but they do it because they love NHPBS and it’s their way to give back to the station. Other people may not have money to spare, but they do have talents that they kindly share with us. They show their support by crafting items  from afghans to artwork and for that we’re very grateful.”

Born out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the auction is now presented entirely online. While viewers remember fondly the energy and camaraderie of in-person auctions, the online option is popular with participants for its ease and accessibility; bids have gone up considerably in the past three years.  Anyone can go online at nhpbs.org/auction to see what’s on offer, make a bid, or donate an item or service.

 Some of this year’s auction partners and offerings include:

  • NHPBS Spring Auction 50th anniversary canvas tote bags, featuring a cream color with blue handles, a zipper and gold lettering. Each bag is filled with fun and useful items from NH Made, including mini-totes and duffel bags from Serious Stitching, maple syrup products, pretzels, dog shampoo, jewelry, mini-lotions, and wine tasting cards.
  • A hand-built floor loom for weaving, built in New Hampshire by Harrisville Designs
  • Overnight stays at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods and the Omni Parker House in Boston
  • A shed from Reeds Ferry Sheds®
  • Whale watching excursions for two people, sailing weekday mornings from Cape Ann Whale Watch of Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Three-foot lilac bushes, honoring the state flower of New Hampshire (Syringa vulgaris, the purple lilac), from the New Hampshire Governor’s Lilac and Wildflower Commission
  • An autographed basketball from the legendary exhibition basketball team and family entertainers the Harlem Globetrotters, personally secured by NHPBS auction manager Diane LaRochelle
  • Six donations of $250 worth of No. 2 heating oil; a great way to reduce costs and keep your home warm next winter, courtesy of Dead River Company
  • Sweets from Granite State Freeze Dried Candy, a first-time auction participant
  • An outdoor chair with a macrame weave featuring the image of the Old Man of the Mountains; courtesy of Pepperell Braiding Company and crafted by Walter Bradley, a Vietnam veteran
  • Handmade quilts by J.G. Bowring. Bowring, a former resident of New Hampshire now living in Las Vegas, has supported the auction since 2009. Each year she donates 6-8 quilts in different colors.

Securing wonderful donations like these is part of year-round auction planning for LaRochelle and Barbara Mariacher, NHPBS’s auction assistant. “There’s a lot of organization that goes on behind the scenes to keep the process flowing, involving hours of outreach, paperwork, processing and proper storage,” says LaRochelle.

After the December winter auction each year, solicitation begins in earnest in January for the spring auction. Mariacher typically emails or calls up to 2,000 businesses and individuals about potential donations. Volunteers play an important role, working in the areas of proofreading, copywriting, bid processing, cataloging items, data entry and filing, plus working in the warehouse. Two long serving volunteers – Richard Shepherd (Somersworth) and Russell Manchester (Nottingham) have been involved in the auction for over 40 and 20 years, respectively.

All donated items are labeled, given a number, and stored in a warehouse on the NHPBS grounds. After each spring auction, all gift certificates are mailed out and thank you letters written to participating donors and businesses. “Pick-up Week” in June is the celebratory time when winning bidders come to NHPBS and retrieve their items.

During all phases of the process, LaRochelle and Mariacher cherish the relationships they form through the auction, including businesses, bidders, new participants, and volunteers.

“Each year, when I’m contacting people about the logistics of the auction, it’s also a time to catch up. I love hearing about what’s gone on in people’s lives over the last year, and I know a lot of our participating businesses and supporters appreciate the personal touch as well,” says Mariacher, who started as a teenage volunteer with the auction more than 30 years ago.

“It’s wonderful that the auction has lasted so long and continues to be vital source of funding for the station,” says La Rochelle. “It really speaks to the quality programming and the educational services that NHPBS provides to the community. People just want to support it.”  

SPONSORS OF the 2023 NHPBS SPRING AUCTION: Postal Center USA, Reeds Ferry Sheds®, and Bank of New Hampshire.

 


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