One of the biggest highlights of Coweta’s annual Fall Festival celebration is the Tiger Pride Band Pie Auction. The annual fundraiser for the award-winning program generates thousands of dollars to help offset operational expenses.
With this year’s festival cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, band boosters have been brainstorming on how to proceed with the event without the backdrop of a downtown festival.
After all, the show must go on.
Their alternative? An auction at Tiger Field, where an audience can still support the band, watch their performance of ‘Skate Night” and bid on delicious, home-baked items they’ve come to expect on the auction block.
The fundraiser will take place Saturday, Sept. 19 at the football stadium. Gates will open at 6 p.m., the band will perform at 7 p.m. and the auction will begin at 7:20 p.m.
Coweta Band Booster President Jesse Hines said every effort is being made to keep the auction “as normal as possible” with more social distancing involved.
“A specific area in the stands will be marked off for bidders only and spectators will be spread throughout the rest of the stands,” Hines explained. “The auctioneer will be stationed on the sidelines and at least six spotters will be in the stands to watch for bids.”
Band parents will bring baked items that are decorated and already wrapped. They will be carried by musicians in front of bidders so they can get a closer look.
For those who want to check items out ahead of time, there will be tables set up on either side of the home side concession stand. One table is for auction items and the others will be for baked goods available for purchase. Hines said there will be a $20 table, a $40 table and a donation bucket for those who want to help but not participate in the bidding process.
“We obviously don’t want people to do what they don’t feel comfortable with, but we want to make the auction available for those who want to come out and support the band,” Hines said. “Our goal is to get these kids what they need to perform, no matter what the fundraising looks like.
“There are things we need to replace such as a synthesizer and several pieces of equipment. We also want to purchase some scaffolding so it can be permanent, rather than leased like last year.”
Hines assured anything that is raised over and above the cost of those items will be put back in case the band makes 2021 a traveling year.
“It cost a whole lot of money to go to Flagstaff last year, and if we do that route again, it will cost a lot more,” he reminded.
This week the band boosters are sending local businesses invitations to the auction. The invites include a space where they can RSVP or indicate if they would like to match their donation from last year or make a contribution should they not be able to attend.
Hines said he knows some people will not come, and the booster club understands and respects that decision.
“Our auction goal this year is $10,000—far below the $18,000 we usually average. If we can make that, awesome! Anything above that is much better,” he said. “A lot of businesses have taken a hit (through the pandemic) and we don’t want to stretch them more than what they are willing to do.”
The 2019 band pie auction raised a record $38,000 – in 90 minutes.
In following tradition, there will be three special “Pie in the Face” items auctioned off – one for Coweta Police Chief Mike Bell, one for Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott and one for Band Director Chris Koehn. Whoever places the winning bid on each item will be able to “pie” the community leaders at the end of the evening.
All supporters of the Coweta Band are invited and encouraged to attend Saturday’s event at Tiger Field. Any location changes will be announced on social media.
“We obviously don’t want people to do what they don’t feel comfortable with, but we want to make the auction available for those who want to come out and support the band. Our goal is to get these kids what they need to perform, no matter what the fundraising looks like."
- Jesse Hinds
Band Booster President
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