Twenty-five years ago, the Rotarians decided to hold a garage sale with tables where people could sell used goods. This simple beginning turned into the massive public event that has become the Rotary Auction and Spring Fair held each year at SEAPARC.
This year’s fair takes place on Saturday, May 2 with a 10 a.m. start.
John Bridal, Director of Public Relations for the Sooke Rotary Club, said the biggest change has been going from an auction to a public event with Sooke businesses involved. He said now there is a trade fair, entertainment, food and displays.
“This happened just before I got there – it suddenly ballooned,” said Bridal.
Part of the goal, said Bridal was to let the local community highlight what is here.
“Everyone’s been huddled around all winter and now it’s time to get out and see what’s going on.”
This year the Rotarians will have a new feature – gold panning. Thanks to the Vancouver Island Placer Mining Association, kids (and big kids) can, for a small fee, pan for gold. The dirt will be salted with real gold and whatever gold anyone pans out they can keep.
“It’s celebrating 150 years of gold from Leechtown,” said Bridal.
The auction has always been a major draw at the fair and this year is no different, except the live auction begins at 6 p.m. The silent auction goes on all day.
So what wonders are being offered up at the live auction? There are four fishing charters to bid on and Bridal said this is always a popular item. Add to that a one-week stay at a resort in Canmore, Alberta where horseback rising is the big deal.
The auction items range from the wonderful to the necessary and by that he means a huge box of toilet paper. Then there’s the multiple truckloads of gravel and wood chips, and a local dentist is even offering crown work.
Bridal emphasizes the 6 p.m. start for the live auction.
People can wander around sampling and gathering information from over 70 booths and be entertained by local dancers from Carole Cave Dance Studio, the Journey middle school rock band and other local performers.
There is also a plant sale outdoors and free swimming at the pool from 1 to 5 p.m.
Bridal said they are excited about the auction and fair but the best thing is what it provides to the community.
“This is our major fund raiser,” said Bridal, “It allows our club to do the things we do in Sooke. We’re extremely grateful to the donors and sponsors, we couldn’t do it without their generosity year to year.”
The best part – it’s FREE.
SEAPARC Leisure Complex is located at 2168 Phillips Road.