Creston auction canceled for second year
Ivan Polus of Whitefish, left, chats with head auctioneer Dale Stere at his consignment lot on Friday afternoon, April 5, as they prepare for the 53rd Creston Auction and County Fair. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake file photo)
Bigfork Eagle | February 10, 2021 2:05 AM
The 2021 Creston Auction and equipment sale has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Creston Fire Fighter’s Association announced Thursday. The virus also forced organizers to call off last year’s event, but they hope to hold the auction the first weekend of April 2022.
“COVID-19 has brought too many complications and challenges as the association and Creston Fire’s emergency responders work to keep our community safe. With several thousand participants and five separate auctions occurring simultaneously in a fairly confined area, it has been deemed impossible to keep any degree of adequate group and personal distancing,” the association said in a press release.
The organization also cited concerns over exposure risk for the 200 local volunteers that help make the event possible.
The cancellation of two consecutive Creston Auction weekends presents a significant blow to the nonprofit fire department — and especially to their fundraising efforts to replace Creston Fire Station 251. The facility was built in the 1960s and barely provides enough space to contain firefighting apparatus, according to a November 2020 Friends of Creston Fire newsletter article.
“The truck bays were built for much smaller trucks than we now have,” Gary Mahugh wrote. “With two apparatus in the bays, we can barely move around them; it is tight just to open doors, and we have no room for future temporary or permanent apparatus housing.”
The department acquired a 7-acre parcel to the west of Creston School several years ago, which will be home to the new station.
The Friends of Creston Fire is planning to hold their second annual Pork Shoulder BBQ Fundraiser, tentatively scheduled for May 2021, along with their Soup for Supper fundraiser in October.
“Although these are successful, well-attended and supported events, they do not replace the Creston Auction in either financial benefit or community social interaction,” the association said in a statement.
Plans for the new Creston Fire Station 251 are ongoing and more information can be found at www.crestonfire.org. Donations to the Station 251 Building Fund can be made online or by check, mailed to Creston Fire, 4498 MT Highway 35, Kalispell, MT 59901.