KEYC - Bill Harguth Calls Bids For Last Time At Santa Anonymous Auction

Bill Harguth Calls Bids For Last Time At Santa Anonymous Auction

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MANKATO, Minn. -

For 20 years, the Santa Anonymous auction has been bringing smiles to children's faces in Waseca County, but tonight's auction marks the end of an era.

For years, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, people crowded into Boxcar Bar in Waseca for a different kind of deal.

The Santa Anonymous auction has raised money to give Waseca County children a Christmas present under the tree for two decades.

Auctioneer Bill Harguth says, "We try to accumulate enough to give everybody that needs it a Christmas like we have."

Harguth started the auction 20 years ago and has been calling the winner of the bids every year since.

Harguth says, "It's just a great evening for me and I always want to be a part of it but I don't want to be the major part of it."

His focus is to get people to open their wallets and do some good.

Harguth says, "I think our first auction was about $1,000 and now we're anywhere from $12,000 to $17,000."

The money raised helps some 500 children in low income families in the county to get a needed present.

People place bids on about a hundred items, from tools, to toys and even a giant teddy bear.

But Harguth's time in Santa's workshop tonight came to an end tonight, as he steps down as coordinator of the auction.

Over the last two months, Harguth had a series of severe health problems, leading to the difficult decision.

Harguth says, "I could auction seven hours if I have to when I was in good health and I owe it to my wife and family to back off."

But before he can back off, he has a busy night ahead.

Harguth says, "With that, I want to go start auctioning."

Even as he steps down, it is a tradition that will continue to help Santa put a smile on children's faces.

The money raised tonight goes to Neighborhood Service Center, which distributes the presents.

--KEYC News 12