Offering one-of-a-kind items that aren't typical doorbusters, Lexington Habitat for Humanity will kick off its second annual Bids 4 Builds fund-raising auction on Black Friday that will continue through Dec. 4.
"We're just floored by how generous the community has been," said Megan Meserve, resource development coordinator for the organization. "To almost double the items we had donated last year is a huge testament to how giving the community still is, even with the economy."
This year's auction again offers unique items among the 100 items or packages featured.
"People wanted to see more of that," said Dana Stefaniak, resource development director for the organization. "So we again have many items that are unexpected and will hopefully be ones that you can buy for a friend or family member who is hard to shop for at the holidays."
Among those is a package from the television game show Wheel of Fortune that includes four VIP tickets guaranteeing seats at a taping. Another item offers a behind-the-scenes tour of University of Kentucky Athletics' Joe Craft Center for four people.
Longtime Wildcats fans will also find memorabilia from decades past including a basketball autographed by greats Sam Bowie, Kenny Walker, Winston Bennett and others. The item and others came from the collection of area resident Bette Weaver, who contacted the organizers after last year's auction.
"She invited us to her attic to actually go through some of the memorabilia," Stefaniak said.
In total, last year's auction raised $6,000 for the organization, and Stefaniak is hopeful this year's will raise $10,000.
One item in particular that might fuel that growth is a rare bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon. On Dec. 31, 1999, the distillery began aging the last barrel of that century, which it dubbed the "Millennium Barrel." It yielded 174 individually numbered bottles, all of which were donated to charities.
"We're anticipating the item could sell in the $2,000 range," Stefaniak said. "Needless to say, if we get $2,000 on one item, we'll blow that $10,000 goal out of the water."
And that would be ideal because Habitat's need is greater in the coming year, she said. The organization plans to build houses with 17 families in 2012, up from 15 in 2011.
"People think in the classic sense of swinging a hammer or building a wall to help support Habitat," she said. "But in all reality, this auction is building houses.
"It's creating the funding for us to be able to build affordable homes."