Another Portage staple fundraiser and favourite of local residents is returning next month following the two-year COVID hiatus. The firefighters Burn Fund Bike Auction is taking place on Saturday, May 7th at 10:00 a.m.
Firefighter Curtis Rance says it's being held at the usual place -- the Portage firehouse at 124 3rd St Northeast.
"What the Burn Fund does is help raise money for education and equipment for the burn ward in Winnipeg," says Rance. "This will be the 42nd annual Bike Auction. We missed the last couple of years because of COVID, but we're hoping to have a good turn-out this year again on our come-back year, and hope to see lots of people out."
Rance explains they did hold an alternate form of the auctions for the last two years. The fire hall donated 39 adult and kids bikes to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the ROK program, Portage School Division outreach programs which are at PCI, Arthur Meighen and Crescentview, and the Bear Clan. And then the rest of the bikes were on display out front of the fire hall for people to pick up a bike of their choice, and make a donation if they so desired.
"But we're going back to our original process and we're hoping to see lots of people out," continues Rance. "Our social club is looking forward to getting back to our events that we usually have going on. We usually do the carwash, as well, and we run the fair booth out at the Portage fair."
You can donate a bicycle for the auction by bringing it to the fire hall where they'll receive it, or you can call (204) 239-8340 and let them you have a bike and they'll set up a time for you to bring it down.
"If you're looking to buy a bike, viewing opens up at 9:00 o'clock," says Rance. "You can come down, take a look, find the ones you like, and then it's like any other auction. You wait for your item to go up for bid and you bid away with other people. These are bikes that either have been recovered from a theft or they've been lost and found around town and nobody has come to claim them, and so we sell them off for some money for a good cause."
Rance says they have roughly 70 for auction this year, noting the numbers are somewhat down a little compared to previous years.
"Hopefully, that doesn't affect us too much," continues Rance. "Usually we have about 125 to 150 bikes a year."