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Auctions provide evening filled with family fun

There is nothing quite like a country auction.

Anyone who has ever been will tell you.

The atmosphere, the opportunity to see good friends and the chance to pick up items you may not finds in a store all make country auctions a special place.

Bargain hunters in this area are lucky to have two weekly auctions right around the corner in Honoraville and Chapel Hill.

It only takes one trip to be hooked. As soon as a person walks into the auction they feel at home.

The smell of the food in the air and the festive atmosphere all tell a person welcome home…no matter where you're from.

As far as the items offered at the auction, a person should expect the unexpected.

There could be anything from fresh vegetables to a set of Grapevine Raisin salt and pepper shakers.

The variety just adds to the fun.

Dora Baggett, who runs the Chapel Hill auction, said she has seen many different items pass through the doors.

"You can get anything there," said Baggett. "I've seen oxen and everything else. I've seen so much I can't even remember it all after being in it so long."

Robert Wallace, who runs the Honoraville auction, said their merchandise varies as well.

"We have a little bit of everything," said Wallace. "We've got new merchandise, old merchandise, antiques and collectibles."

The sellers can range from large to small markets. Some come in by the truckload, while others may only sell a handful of items.

"We have some guys that are big haulers and have a lot of merchandise," said Baggett. "On the other hand we also have some small haulers that come in with only a few things to sell."

Whether the haul is large or small the people come. Though many of the people are local, a great number come from far away.

Some even log long miles traveling to the auctions from other states.

"We have people coming in from Tennessee and Florida along with other places," said Baggett. "They'll come by for the auction and use things for flea markets."

Wallace has also seen his fair share of travelers at the Honoraville auction.

"We've got all kinds of sellers that come from around the state and further," said Wallace. "There are some from Florida and some from other states. They all bring in all kinds of different stuff."

There are a lot of great finds at the auction. But some people prefer to come for the social atmosphere.

Some prefer to simply take the Friday or Saturday night to spend time with family and friends.

They also have the opportunity to make new ones.

Regardless of what people come to the auction to do the cost is the same…free.

"It doesn't cost anything to get in," said Wallace. "It's free and it is a good family atmosphere."

The auctions even occur on different nights to give people a chance to catch both.

The Chapel Hill auction is held at 7 p.m. on Fridays at the Chapel Hill Community Center.

The Honoraville Auction is conducted on Saturday nights at 7 p.m. at the old Honoraville schoolhouse.

No matter which auction you go to a person is guaranteed to come away well fed.

"We have a good snack bar," said Wallace. "We sell all kinds of different food. The most popular are probably the fried pies. They are usually gone by the time the auction starts."

Chapel Hill has a specialty as well.

"I am well known for my taco salad," said Baggett. "Lots of people come for that."

A little entertainment never hurts either. People come to the auction to have good, clean fun and that is exactly what they do.

The auctions are full of outgoing people who will welcome a stranger as quickly as an old friend.

"It's just a lot of fun," said Wallace. "Everybody comes here to have a good time. I don't think we ever have any trouble out here. We just all want to have fun."

Baggett said her auction also welcomed newcomers.

"We want everybody to come on out," said Baggett. "We'll treat you so many ways you are bound to like one of them!"

Adding to the entertainment is auctioneer Robert Bruner.

Bruner works closely with both auctions and works them well.

There is never a dull moment when Bruner is behind the microphone.

He is full of pep and priceless witticisms that keep the audience in stitches.

Though the auctions are mostly for fun, the Chapel Hill auction has a serious purpose.

A lot of the money for the auction goes toward renovations for the host site.

The goal is to raise $20,000 to restore the building.

Baggett said a lot of hard work goes into the restoration of the old school house.

"We just kind of took it up as our goal to help rebuild the school house," said Baggett. "We all work for free pretty much. None of us get paid. Whatever we make goes to help rebuild the school house."

To get to the Honoraville auction, take Highway 50 about 10 miles northwest of Greenville.

It is at the old Honoraville school in "downtown" Honoraville.

To attend the Chapel Hill auction, take Ala. Highway 10 East until you get to Damascus Road.

Turn left and travel about six miles.

The auction is at the old Chapel Hill School location and is also home to the Chapel Hill Fire Department.

Managing Editor Jay Thomas contributed to this report.