FREDERICKTOWN — The 23rd Annual commemorative plate auction raised over $5,000 for the Tomato Show, Saturday night. This year’s limited edition plate featured the Ewers Hotel, coincidentally located just to the right of the stage where Red Shaw led the auction. Though the current tough economy held down the total amount raised, community members entered into the spirit of the event by combining money to boost some bids higher.
The first and largest bidding war of the evening was for the very first plate, which ended up going to Beheler Excavating Co. for $1,000. Ted Van Dellen won plate No. 2 with a bid of $500. Harry and Elaine Hillier continued their 23-year tradition of buying plate No. 3 with a bid of $500.
“It’s just our way of giving something back to the Fredericktown community,” Harry said, noting how much work goes into putting on the Tomato Show. Elaine said that there wasn’t any particular significance to plate No. 3, except that it was the number they won the first year, and they have stuck with it ever since.
Mark Blanchard, manager of the Fredericktown branch of the First-Knox National Bank, bid $500 on behalf of the bank to win the No. 4 plate. The $500 rate held up for the fifth plate, which went to Dean and Linda Shira. Auctioneer Shaw described Dean as “the instigator to start this thing 23 years ago,” provoking a warm round of applause from the crowd.
Mark and Robin Dailey bid $450 to win plate No. 6. The seventh plate went to Buchholz Taxes for the same amount. Dave and Gloria Stoops won the bidding for plate No. 8 with $425, on behalf of their concession business, Indian Bread. Carrol and Connie Roberts bid $450 to win the ninth plate.
Bidding for the final plate, No. 10, got interesting as the auctioneers worked the crowd, encouraging bidders to pool money and compete to raise the sum. Assistant auctioneer Larry Moore called back to the stage at one point to stop Shaw from calling the end of the auction. The crowd laughed and cheered as Moore pulled out his own pocket change to prime the pump among the bidders. The plate finally went to Garrel and Karen Chevalier for $600.
“My wife wouldn’t let me bid at first,” Garrel said, adding that this was their first time in the bidding for one of the plates. He said that he would have preferred plates six, eight or nine, as those are his favorite numbers, but that he only joined in the bidding late in the auction once people started pooling money to raise the bids.