For 45 years the Stephenville Optimist Club has held its auction to raise funds for area youth, and this year they have decided to change things up and create it a big event at City Hall at City Limits with not only the auction, but drinks, food and live entertainment kicking off at 6 p.m. Friday, May 4.

“Last year at the auction I had several people come up to me and say we needed to do something different,” said Optimist Club Vice President Kurt Johnson. “It was getting kind of old and stale and we were doing it the same way for years. There are a myriad of things we’re doing with the money, so we decided to do a complete makeover.”

The event is free to attend and will feature door prizes, drinks, three carving stations and live music by Courtney Patton and The Immediate Blues Band.

“The other big change is that we’re actually going to be using online bidding software (BidPal). It’s the same thing the Stephenville Chamber used for their auction and we’re going to open that Friday (yesterday),” Johnson said. “We will have six or eight people on-site with an iPad or tablet of some sort and if you want to bid, they can put it in for you. People can register with their credit card and either do it themselves or get a helper. It’s going to be a very efficient and fast check-out, which has been a problem in the past.”

There are approximately 50 raffle tickets left for a chance to win a 2018 Polaris Ranger ATV 500 and tickets are $100 each.

The live auction will feature Texas Ranger baseball tickets, a weekend at Rough Creek Lodge plus hundreds of items in the silent auction.

Proceeds benefit local programs for youth, which includes helping fund new football fields at City Park.

“I actually moved down here about 11 years ago and I’ve just been totally amazed at the generosity of the people in the Stephenville area,” Johnson said. “After a while I realized I wanted to be a big part of the betterment of this community and it’s very rewarding. It’s a win-win. You get that satisfaction that you did something good for someone.”

For more information on the event and the online bidding, visit the Optimist Club’s Facebook page.