MALMO – Where can spirited bidding force the price of a dozen kolaches into triple digits? The Malmo Community Benefit Auction, of course.

Home-baked treats are just some of the items that can be found at this annual event, which is always held on President’s Day, said Don Proett, one of the organizers.

“The kolaches bring a lot of money,” said Proett.

This year, the event will take place on Monday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Malmo Legion Hall. Proett, a member of the Malmo American Legion, said they expect 60 to 70 bidders to attend the event, which is sponsored by the Malmo American Legion and the Malmo Volunteer Fire Department.

The auction started in 1953 as a way to raise money for polio, said Proett. The gathering replaces door-to-door canvassing for charity, he said. The annual event raises about $10,000.

“We’ve made close to $10,000 each year for the last few years,” he said.

These days, they donate money to several groups, many local, according to Proett. Those groups include the Wahoo Bloodmobile and the American Red Cross, the VFW Christmas Drive in Wahoo, Camp Kitaki in South Bend and several organiza-tions that support medical diseases like multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease and colitis, the local fire department and American Legion. Last year, due to the flood, they donated $1,000 to flood relief in nearby North Bend, Proett said.

It is a live auction, with volunteer auctioneers from several auction companies, including Jack Nitz and Associates, John Sousek, Ryan Welton, Marvin Bohac and Brian Machovec.

Many of the auction items are donated by local businesses, but the public can also donate on the day of the event. Starting at 1 p.m. they can bring items to the Legion hall. The items can range from handmade quilts to bags of dog food, Proett said.

“Anything can be donated of decent value and condition,” he added.

Proett said typically the crowd is made up of Malmo citizens, but the bidders have been coming from surrounding areas in recent years.

“The community shows up pretty good,” he said. “It’s not just the Malmo community, but it’s expanded through the years.”

And no matter how enthusiastic the bidding gets for those kolaches, there is always a spirit of camaraderie, Proett said.

“We love to have a fun auction,” he said.

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