Rain showers didn’t dampen spirits as the Sixth Annual Special Olympics Indiana – Marion County Southside Storm Chili Cook-Off and Silent Auction brought the much-anticipated fundraiser activities to the Bowling family’s house for another successful event. The evening began under warm, sunny skies which eventually turned into cooler temperatures and scattered showers.
All the typical crowd pleasers were there — chili was judged; burgers and hotdogs sizzling on the grill beckoned hungry attendees to enjoy the buffet-style food line; silent auction bids were placed; the No-Drama Band performed crowd favorites; Artistic Expressions by Karen & Rachel provided an opportunity for complimentary family photos; Life-Vantage Farms was back by popular demand with horse rides; pumpkins were decorated; clowns tied balloon animals; and the John Deere fired-up for hayrides.
In an effort to make every year better than the year before, the 2017 Chili Cook-off Silent Auction joined the technological revolution and was made available online one week prior to the event. All silent auction items were also bid through the online process during the night of the fundraiser. As with the introduction of every new change, the online silent auction was met with mixed reviews. Some thought it was the best thing since sliced bread while others found it inconvenient and confusing to create an account, login, and bid.
In the end, the online process expanded the Marion County Southside Storm fundraiser to a new audience, allowed flexibility for those unable to attend the night of the event, and helped to drive up the bidding; but, the biggest benefit was revealed during auction close-out. The organization and tracking of items through the online process made this year’s auction closeout the quickest and most efficient ever! Although, rain blew in and the auction ended almost an hour early, the auction raised about $100 over last year’s total.