It seemed like a good idea at the time – and it was.

It seemed like a good idea at the time – and it was. When the notion of a Rotary TV Auction was first proposed a quarter-century ago, it was met with a certain amount of skepticism by some members of the Plymouth service club. However, everyone got behind it and made it happen.

Now, more than $1 million later, the annual event is thriving and much anticipated by the community. This year’s rendition will be broadcast live on cable television and online this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 6, 7 and 8.

"It’s been quite a ride," said Doug MacLeod, the Plymouth Rotary member who started the auction in 1996 and continues to run it. "It’s changed a lot but the idea is still the same – we’re raising money to help local groups and charities. It all goes to them so they can do the good work of helping others. We’ve raised more than $1 million dollars over the years for these organizations."

The Plymouth Rotary Auction features more than 700 items for bid: everything from gift certificates for local stores and restaurants to vacation trips, artwork, gym memberships, auto detailing, wine, food, lobsters, sporting events, jewelry and more. Each is valued at $25 or more with some priced at hundreds of dollars.

Over the years, MacLeod has helped get Plymouth Rotary members get excited about the event by dressing up in different costumes at meetings. He’s appeared as various celebrities, important people in history and even a fictitious U.S. general.

"My favorite was General MacAuction," said MacLeod, who is the owner of Public Spectacle Opticians in Plymouth. "I put 12 stars on an old Army helmet and got a uniform from the Family Kloset. I used to get all kinds of great costumes from that place when they were open."

The whole idea for the Rotary Auction was to find one big fundraiser for the club instead of all the small ones it used to do. MacLeod hoped this event would take hold and result in a steady income for all the local groups Rotary supports. It has. The annual auction now raises more than $50,000 each year, which all goes back to the community in the form of grants and donations.

"We used to do bowl-athons, jail-and-bails, flower sales – all kinds of small fundraisers," he said. "It was too much. I wanted to do one thing that would replace them all and enable us to help all of these community groups. And that’s really the reason we do this. Rotary is all about serving others. Our motto is ‘Service Above Self.’"

Some of the groups supported by the Rotary Club of Plymouth include Greater Plymouth Food Warehouse, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Manomet Youth Center, Spire Center, Plymouth Public Library, Kingston Public Library, Wild Hearts Horses for Heroes, Jones River Restoration Project, Relay For Life of Plymouth County, Plymouth Education Foundation, Camp Clark and the Plymouth YMCA, scholarships for area college students, international student exchange programs, End Polio Now, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth and Shelter BoxUSA.

MacLeod won’t be dressing up in costume this year. He stopped doing that when Family Kloset closed a few years ago. However, MacLeod will continue to encourage and excite members from behind the scenes at PAC TV, which has broadcast the annual auction since 1998. For viewers, he offers this comment:

"Bid early and bid often," he said. "It’s for a good cause."

The 25th annual Plymouth Rotary TV Auction will air on Comcast Channel 13 in Plymouth, Kingston, Pembroke, Carver, Duxbury, Marshfield, Halifax and Plympton and Verizon Channel 43 in Plymouth, Kingston and Duxbury, and Channel 34 in Marshfield, as well as online at http://plymouthrotaryauction.com/live/. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

People can bid by phone during the auction by calling 774-773-3174 or by visiting http://plymouthrotaryauction.com/online/.

For more information about Plymouth Noontime Rotary Club, go to https://portal.clubrunner.ca/3718/.