By Madeline O’Meara, omearama17@grinnell.edu

Looking for a place where you can bid for homemade orange sorbet, tickets to The Blue Jean Ball, knitting lessons and your own personal bacon fest all in one place? Look no further than the third annual Grinnell’s Got Talent Auction taking place on Monday, September 9th. The event raises money for the locally based non-profit Imagine Grinnell.

Imagine Grinnell  has been a force for good in Grinnell in many forms, from funding start-up projects to living up to its “Green, Playing, Growing” motto. Executive director Sarah Smith stands by the organization as an important member of the Grinnell community.

“[Imagine Grinnell] helps provide a better quality of life in Grinnell,” Smith said. Imagine Grinnell works within the community to improve the lives of those who live in the Grinnell area and anyone who may visit.

They work primarily to promote green initiatives, encourage play (specifically outdoor and recreational activities) and economic growth within the community.

“[Our goal is] getting people outside and being active, outdoors and enjoying the beautiful prairie around us,” Smith said.

One of their current projects is the extension of the Grinnell Area Recreational Trail, which will help keep Grinnell connected from end to end.

“[Once completed], you could go all the way from Rock Creek to Walmart if you want,” Smith said. Another upcoming project is the creation of a natural playscape as yet another option in town encouraging healthy outdoor play.

Founded in 1985, Imagine Grinnell has collaborated in starting the first area Farmer’s Market in 1986 and the establishment of the Galaxy Youth Center in 2001 among many other projects to benefit the Grinnell community.

The upcoming auction will help fund the organization so they can continue to support the Grinnell community. The event takes place at Prairie Canary, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with Happy Hour, followed by Heavy Hors d’Oeuvres at 6 p.m. and the Buy It Now portion of the auction from 6:30 p.m.- 7 p.m.

During the Buy It Now portion, anyone has the option to outright buy that irresistible fresh smoked turkey or any other object up for auction for a slightly higher than auction price. The official auction itself will begin at 7 p.m. and the winners of bids (or those doing Buy It Now) may pay with cash, check or credit card. Tickets to the auction are $25 per person, or a group of four for $90. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at Imagine Grinnell’s website, www.imaginegrinnell.org.

A night of great food, excellent company, friendly bidding wars and free massages (that’s right, free massages on the lower floor of the Prairie Canary all throughout the evening) is sure to entertain, and some of the talents may even take you by surprise.

“It really is a fun evening … last year I remember a lot of laughter, a lot of smiles. It’s really just a time to unwind and just see what talents other people have here in Grinnell,” Smith said.  “There’s just so many wonderful people in this town who have so many wonderful talents to give,” Smith said.

If the massages and food are not enough to draw you in, the goodies up for bid might.  Some of the numerous talents donated by people within the community include a local vegetarian meal for five people, a private fly fishing lesson, swimming lessons and a dinner party extravaganza.

More of the wonderful talents up for auction are listed on the Imagine Grinnell website (listed above), and they are definitely worth a look. If something catches your eye, or even if you just want a nice night with friends or a fun way to support a local organization helping the town, make sure to head on over to The Prairie Canary Monday, September 9th to check out Grinnell’s talent.