Haunted Halls transforms the library during the Oktoberfest fundraiser


Natasha Neills

Library staff and donors dressed in their best for the evening.

By Logan Stanley, Staff Writer

EWU Dining Services provided an array of food for the event. | Natasha Neills for The Easterner.
EWU Dining Services provided an array of food for the event. | Natasha Nellis for The Easterner.

Orange floodlights from the ground illuminate the pillars while black and fluorescent lights outline the first floor of the John F. Kennedy Library. There is festive music playing, a ghostly painting of flying books hanging from the railing of the second floor and paper bats looming in the rafters. Gandalf, Maverick and Batman are all mingling, drinks in hand.

This was the setting this past weekend at the 14th Annual Oktoberfest, a fundraising event hosted by EWU at JFK Library. Bill Youngs, EWU history professor and past donator, said these kinds of events are integral to the sustainability of an essential institution on campus.

“I think the library is one of the great features of Eastern Washington University,” said Youngs. “It has helped me a lot writing books, developing lectures. Also, I just like the atmosphere … there’s a sense of seriousness about getting work done. It needs our help in order to succeed.”

Included with admission was a dinner courtesy of EWU dining services, consisting of salad, rolls, potatoes and chicken and pork loin entrees.

Right after entering, those who had not already signed up to be a participant in the auctions were able do so. After that, for those who were 21, people could order up a drink at the makeshift bar free of charge — whether it be a Latah Valley Chardonnay or a Born and Raised IPA.

The area that is normally the printers and writer’s center was the location for biddable items for the silent auction. There was no shortage of items and they were random in choice.

  • One Hundred Years of Hall of Famers baseball cards
  • Crock pot
  • Fighting For Time (The Image of War): Volume IV
  • Two tickets to “American Idiot”–A Musical
  • Smokey the Bear plush toy
  • Four tickets to an EWU men’s basketball game

The bidding was anywhere from $3 to $1,900. The selection was vast and was divided into sections: A, B and C. The sections dictated when the silent auction would take part, divided into 30 minute intervals. Each ending of the auction was accompanied with a blood curtling scream blasted through the speakers.

There was a ring toss to the right of the circulation desk, where wine bottles were the targets. Participants paid $10 for two tries.

There was a wheel spin, the “Torture Wheel.” For $1, participants could spin the wheel to win different prizes, ranging from candy to Halloween novelty items — a skull-shaped mug was among the winnable items.

The highlight of the event was the live auction, and that is where the bulk of the proceeds came from.

The live auction, hosted by Booker Auction Company, had the look and feel of an official auction. Some of the notable prizes:

  • “Enjoy the Sunny Side of Life” – A seven day, eight night luxury trip on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
  • “Dell 7000 Series Laptop – 12.5” display and 6th generation Intel M7 Processor.
  • “Custom Helicopter Tour of Spokane/Coeur d’Alene” – White Rabbit Helitours will take you on a custom 30 minute tour around the area and Coeur d’Alene.
  • “Doghouse” – A limited edition painting, #181 of 200, done by Norman Rockwell. (one-half of proceeds to the Walter & Myrtle Powers Scholarship Fund)
  • “Go Hawks!” – Two tickets to the Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers Sunday Night game on 12/4.
Those who attended had a face painting of their choice included in the price of the ticket. | Natasha Neills for The Easterner
Those who attended had a face painting of their choice included in the price of the ticket. | Natasha Nellis for The Easterner

Some of the items came with prices over $10,000. The item that came away with the highest bid was the Norman Rockwell painting. The duel to win it was an enthralling one. With the bidding already at $2,000, one bidder outbid the other at the last second for $2,100 to win the auctioned item. The painting was said to be valued at $4,000 — and that was in the early 2000s. The bidder who won it was no other than Bill Youngs.

In total, the live auction fetched over $12,000. That is not including the profit from the tables sold, as well as the silent auction and games. In the past, this fundraiser has raised over $15,000, Youngs said. This year will bring a close match to past years, and it is all in the name in improving of the JFK Library.