WARNER ROBINS -- Holly Arnold had her eyes on the grand prize. The 11-year-old spotted the neon green Chevrolet Camaro on Saturday on her way into the Century Flight Hangar for the 26th annual Museum of Aviation Auction and Raffle and Taste of Local Cuisine.
Arnold held onto the auction paddle as she browsed the silent auction with her mother, Karen.
They had bid on just a few items -- combat boots and a bucket of candy among them.
Proceeds from the event go to the Museum of Aviation programs, including the summer camp Holly attends. It is the museum’s second largest fundraiser of the year, said Bob Dubiel, the museum’s director of marketing.
The Camaro was one of nine vehicles available as part of the grand prize Saturday. The winner had their pick of the vehicles donated by eight local dealerships or $30,000.
Troy and Julie Hubbard can attest that the cars are not easy to win.
The couple has been attending the event for at least five years, but “still haven’t won a car yet,” Troy Hubbard said.
Instead they’ve won “stuff,” said Julie Hubbard, who also had her eyes on a diamond cross in the live auction. “You probably end up paying more for it than you normally would, but it’s for a good cause.”
Last year, the event raised $224,000 in cash and in-kind donations.
Dubiel said while the total amount of money raised Saturday had not been calculated, more than 1,000 tickets were sold beforehand and tickets were also available at the door.
More than 300 items -- from a margarita maker to a medieval dagger and appropriately, model airplanes -- were offered in the silent auction.
The live auction prizes included trips, sports tickets and jewelry.
Nestled between those items sat a red and black grill topped with a University of Georgia balloon.
Potential bidders lifting the lid and peering into the grill got a good laugh. Inside sat University of Florida Gator paraphernalia.
Kenneth Glenn Corbett, a Florida resident who made the grill, proudly wore his Gators shirt.
All in good fun, he said, “they can grill some gator tail.”
While the grill got laughs, “oohs” and “aahs” could be heard from not too far away
Martha Bond Branson stopped dead in her tracks as she passed the rack of fur coats positioned near the front of the room.
“Susan feel this one, it’s gorgeous,” she told her friend Susan Green.
The first-time participant had some words of advice for the live auction for her fellow first-timer.
“I’ve been trying to tell her not to scratch her head or bat a fly or anything,” Branson said, adding that she may just have to bid on those fur coats.
The pair said they had always wanted to attend the auction, but finally decided to buy tickets this year.
“It costs a little more than playing the lotto,” Green said, “But these are pretty good odds and for a good cause.”