Auction items 

St. Patrick’s Day Committee Benefit Auction Raises $15,000 | Gas

The 28th annual St. Patrick’s Day Committee auction held at Bruff’s Bar & Grill on Friday night raised $15,200 to benefit 13 local organizations.

After skipping a year due to COVID-19, the popular event returned with 90 items up for sale in live and silent auctions. Ron Thomas served as master of ceremonies and Dwayne Coble and Victor Edelman of Swift-n-Sure Auctions served as auctioneers. Bidding was hot and heavy for items ranging from fishing trips to culinary experiences to homemade pies.

Evora Wheeler’s famous pies fetched $795 amid fierce bidding. Phil Taunton of What’s In Outdoors donated a guided fishing trip as well as a pontoon rental courtesy of Council Grove Marina that sold for $800 as eager bidders sent good-natured jeers across the room.

One of the most unique items in the auction was a dinner with Tyler Darbyshire from Darbyshire Farm in Hartford. Darbyshire, a member of the St. Patrick’s Day committee and winner of Harry & Lloyd’s first annual mule competition, offered a ride through Flint Hills and dinner at the Grand Central Hotel in Cottonwood Falls.

“I was born in the Flint Hills and thought someone would enjoy a one-on-one visit and then a steak dinner at Grand Central,” he said after the auction. “It seemed like a fun thing to do.”

Sam Anliker, a friend from Darbyshire, won the prize with a bid of $375.

“I did it for fun and to embarrass him,” Anliker said, unashamedly. “And of course it’s also for a good cause.”

The St. Patrick’s Day Committee has raised over $330,000 for local organizations since its inception. This year’s recipients are ESU Special Education Event, Shiloh Home for Hope, North Lyon County Veterans Memorial, What’s in Outdoors Fund, USD 252 Early Childhood, Hetlinger Developmental Services Inc., Didde Catholic Campus Center, Transitions Program, Buffy Animal Welfare Group , Hartford City Veterans Memorial, Forever Home Pet Rescue, Camp Hope, and the Flint Hills Technical College Scholarship.

Overall, the committee hopes to raise $23,000 for the beneficiaries this year. Their next fundraising event is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for 1 p.m. on March 19 in downtown Emporia.

“We will be stationed at Town Royal,” said organizer Barb Lowery, adding that the bar at 405 Commercial St. is once again hosting a beer garden on parade day. The beer garden will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. from March 19 to 20.

Other activities include the virtual Leprechaun Dash 5K and a pre-parade art activity at the Emporia Arts Center. For more information on St. Patrick’s Day Committee events and activities, find them on Facebook at

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