This year's auction is scheduled for 6:30-10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday on the Sikeston Public Schools cable access channel 12.
Ken Rubenacker has been a Sikeston Rotary Club member for the past 15 years and has served as co-chair of the auction over the last three years.
"This is our biggest fundraising event of the year," Rubenacker said. "I would say between 75 and 80 percent of our annual profits come from this auction."
Twenty-two local businessmen were installed as charter members of the Sikeston chapter of the Rotary International on April 1, 1947.
The 1972-1973 year was a landmark year for the Sikeston club since it was the first year the auction took place. In a few years' time, the auction evolved into a five night per week event, a telecast on local public service access television and broadcast on the radio.
In 1989, the fund raiser was changed to a Christmas auction, taking place three evenings during the first week of December.
All 350-375 donated items are divided into different auction groups based on price value. Lower-valued items under $20 are auctioned off first, then the higher items and so on, Rubenacker explained. Approximately 35-40 items are bid on each hour.
"People call in and put their bid in by phone. We don't have any bidders at the auction itself," Rubenacker said. Six phone lines are available throughout the auction.
As co-chairs, Rubenacker's and Ron Steinmetz's responsibilities include coordinating the total operation by finding a place to have the auction and making sure everything is hooked up for the telecast.
Steve Deere, who heads the Rotary Auction public relations, said the event is a lot of fun, but very busy. He said his kids even come to help out.
"They love it," Deere said. "They come every year."
The Rotary motto, "Service Above Self" is a reality with the club because proceeds from the auction will go to over 20 charities. Past donations have benefited scholarships to graduating Sikeston High School seniors attending Southeast Missouri State University, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Community Christmas Campaign and the Rotary International, to name a few.
Over 200 local businesses donated items for the auction, and some donated multiple items. "In general merchants have continued to be generous in support of our auction -- despite economic hard times," Rubenacker said.
The items range from books to gift certificates to jewelry and furniture will be available for bidding.
Other specific items to be auctioned this year include:
* Rayban, black chrome sunglasses with a retail value of $100 donated by Dr. Steve Barnett;
* A large brushed duet magnetic bracelet worth $70 donated by Sabona of London;
* Four-week weight-loss plan donated by Weight Watcher's of Sikeston worth $44;
* Two Andy Grigg's concert passes and two dinners valued at $65 donated by Casino-Aztar;
* Office chair donated by Scheffer's Office Furniture valued at $295;
* A full automobile detail worth $120 at Bening Motor Company;
* Two nights at Fall Creek Resort in Branson valued at $180 donated by United Travel Association.
"We look forward to the auction, and we enjoy hearing from people," Rubenacker said. "We encourage people to call in their bids."
A complete list of auction items is listed in today's edition of the Standard Democrat.