More than $17,700 was raised Friday night for Pets and Pals Charities Ltd., which sponsors the La Grange Pet Parade, and other local organizations through the auction of 48 rocking chairs in the “La Grange Rocks” event.
Several hundred people braved the drizzle to stand under and outside a tent in front of La Grange Village Hall, 53 S. LaGrange Road, to win their bids of $150—for the William and Kate Royalty Comes to La Grange chair, to $1,150—for the Bonefied Partners chair.
Even the Bulls Mania chair, which was stolen the first day it was put out on display, received $500 to $600 in bids to benefit St. Cletus Parish—even though there is no actual chair to give away. The La Grange Business Association, which presented the event, started the bidding with $200 and other attendees said they would donate money.
Ralph McMullen of La Grange won his bid for the White Sox Chair for $225. He plans to give the chair to his father, Bruce.
“He’s a big Sox fan,” McMullen said.
Popularity also does not mean the chair will sell. McParty, the People’s Choice first-place winner, and The Rocking Chair, second-place finisher, each sold for $300.
Nancy Cummings, business association executive director, said sports-themed items seem popular, but this year, as in every year, it is hard to predict which will sell for the most.
“Some chairs just take off," Cummings said. "It depends on how much they’re bidding and how much they want it.”
This is the sixth year for a La Grange art auction. Previous years featured rain barrels, Adirondack chairs and elephants. The chairs were on display all summer on sidewalks in downtown La Grange.
Each of the chairs was crafted by carpenter Lars Nelson of La Grange, Cummings said. They were sponsored either by a business, which donated the proceeds to Pets and Pals, or a local organization, which kept the money. The selected an artist—or in the case of some schools, painted the chair themselves. The artist received nothing, unless paid by the sponsor, Cummings said.
Each business sponsored one chair, but various groups at St. Cletus Parish sponsored the most at five total. Those St. Cletus groups received more than $1,825, including the money for the Bulls chair.
Auctioneer Jim Drury of La Grange Park start bidding fast with the first chair, Paradise Found, getting a winning bid of $500. The next, Viney Oasis, sold for $300 and most others sold for $275 or $300, and up. Drury requested minimum bids of $200 and then bidding of $25 intervals, but five chairs started below that level and one could not get a $150 bid.
Drury joked with bidders, telling one man, “I give you permission to bid; you don’t have to look at your wife.” The man replied, “She’s not my wife.” He told another man that staring down a competing bidder, “will not stop her bidding.”