Annual Auction Raises $79K!

Tibbits staff and event volunteers gathered before the event began. With the theme “Auction at the Opera House” Tibbits 42nd Annual Auction featured online bidding as well as the live event and grossed over $79,000.

COLDWATER, MI – Tibbits 42nd Annual Auction raised over $79,000 Saturday, November 6 with a hybrid combination of online bidding and live auction at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, a record amount for the historic theatre’s major fundraising event.

With a “Phantom of the Opera” theme “Auction at the Opera House” the live event began with a reception and live music provided by Randall Hazelbaker.  The onstage portion opened with an audio clip from the Broadway musical and the dramatic lighting of the theatre’s historic chandelier.  Darin Spieth and Dan Satow of Spieth & Satow Auctioneers led participants through an evening of high bids. Ken Delaney served as Master of Ceremonies.

The full event featured over 450 auction items. Most of the bidding took place via the website with sections closing daily starting Wednesday and concluding Saturday night after the live event had already ended.

According to Tibbits Board President Chris Donbrock, “Our Tibbits staff did a great job with this event. They retained what worked well last year with the silent auction and brought back some of what we loved about past live auctions. I think everyone who was there liked the improvements.”  He added, “We owe a huge thank you to all of the donors, bidders and sponsors who showed their support of our community’s gem. The community’s support for Tibbits is wonderful.”

Dinners and special experiences highlighted the items up for bid and garnered some very generous donations. High bids for the evening came from four separate dinners donated by Kathy and Rick Merrill, one of which teams with Two Bandits Brewing, as well as a dinner provided by members of Altrusa International of Branch County. High bids on other experiences were donated by Keiss Jewelry, the Post Balloon Club, PNC Bank, the Merrills and Coldwater Orthodontic and Aligner Center. This year’s Barton S. Tibbits Sponsorship which gives the high bidder four tickets to every event at the theatre was purchased by Kaiser Electric, Jim and Renee White, David and Caroline Austin, and Paul and Kathy Bair.

Winners of the auction raffle sponsored by Great Lakes Chiropractic were Vena Wade $1000 first prize which she donated back to the theatre, Mike Clark $250 second prize, and Angie Marsh two Tibbits Summer Theatre season tickets third prize. Shannon Lemke won the registration raffle for two tickets to a Summer Theatre show.

This year’s auction committee included Irene Butdorf, Pam Kasprzyk, Shannon King, Gail Russell, Bill Trebilcock, and Tibbits staff Andy French, Stephanie Burdick and Christine Delaney. For more information on Tibbits Opera House, its many programs for the community and how to support it, go to or call 517-278-6029.