The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History usually puts on a big shindig each fall — casino nights, masquerade balls, and a fall harvest gala among the fundraising events the museum has tried over the past few years.
COVID-19 put the brakes on that plan this year, so museum officials have regrouped and beginning today will be starting two of the more popular parts of the annual autumn gathering online.
An online auction, run in conjunction with Mayberry Auction Company, will kick off today and run through Dec. 9, while another popular attraction at the fall events, the traditional cash draw-down for a $5,000 prize, will be held on Dec. 10, with tickets now on sale.
“COVID-19 has effectively changed life as we know it—including non-profit fundraising,” said Museum Executive Director Matt Edwards. In the wake of the global pandemic, local non-profits such as the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History are struggling with how to continue generating their operational revenues with state mandated closures much of the year and current capacity restrictions that make traditional fundraising events impossible.
“It’s whole new world for us and we’re hoping the changes we’re making for this year will work,” Edward said. While the museum receives funding from a variety of sources, its largest fundraiser each year is the annual gathering usually held in September or early October. In addition to food, drink, and live entertainment, the event includes a drawdown raffle and silent auction
Edwards said the museum postponed this year’s event in September, hoping many of the COVID-19 related restrictions might be eased before the year ended. “That just hasn’t happened so we had to find a way to move ahead since this is such a large part of our operating budget for the year,” he said.
“The draw down itself was fairly easy and can be done with just a small group of people but we wanted to find a way to keep our supporters engaged with us and to continue the auction which accounts for about one-third of the money raised at the event.” The solution was a partnership with Mayberry Online Auctions with a Black Friday auction launch for 50 items,” Edwards said.
“We’ve built a great support base since launching the platform a few years ago and this was a great way for us to help support the museum during this difficult time,” said Marty Adams, owner of Mayberry Auction Company and a former museum board member.
Auction items run the gambit with something for everyone. There are items ranging from themed baskets and golf packages to custom artwork and local wines. Among the experiential items are a one-on-one blacksmithing class, a series of mandolin lessons and a zip lining package. All of the items were donated by area businesses “and given the way this year as gone for everyone it’s a testament to the generosity and community spirit of local business owners,” Edwards said..
Draw down tickets are $100 each for a chance at a $5,000 cash prize and can be purchased at the museum and from museum board members through Dec. 6. Only 300 tickets are available. The auction portion of the event opens to the public today and will run through Dec. 9 at www.mayberryonlineauction.bidwrangler.com. For more information visit the museum or call 336-786-4478.