Final Alaskana sale honors Candy Waugaman
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — In a bittersweet goodbye to deceased Fairbanks philanthropist Candy Waugaman, the 11th and final Alaskana sale wrapped up on July 28.
Waugaman passed away in March. As part of her final wishes, Waugaman’s friends held her annual sale on her behalf. They spent weeks organizing and pricing the items in preparation for crowds from Fairbanks and beyond.
“It’s kind of a way to remember Candy, that we’re doing it one last time,” Jan Hanscom said.
Waugaman donated the proceeds from her Alaskana sale to four different charities each year. This year, in her absence, the organizations that will benefit from the sale include the 4-H Club, Pioneer Museum, the Literacy Council and the Animal Shelter Fund. According to Jan Hanscom, a 4-H volunteer, the organizations take home around $5,000 each, every year.
All year long, Waugaman would scour eBay.com for any item related to Alaska, and sell the items in her carport to support charity. New items from eBay arrived until the day Waugaman died. As in past years, the items she purchased were supplemented with donations from the public.
Because there was so much left to sell after Waugaman passed, the sale was bigger this year. It expanded beyond the carport and into the attached garage on one side and into the barn on the other.
In former years, the rules were clear: no early birds, no “dickering” over the price and no complaining. Small wooden signs labeled “Complaint Department” held bear traps with red depressors. Underneath, they read, “Press red button for service.”
This year, early birds were still turned away, but each day, a discount was applied to each item, starting at 25% off on Friday, down to 50% off on Saturday and finally 75% off on Sunday.
Under the overhang of her carport, customers flipped through photographs, postcards, newspapers, Alaska Brewing Company bottle caps, paintings and movie posters. All with an Alaska tie-in, all donated or hand-picked by Waugaman. Of particular interest this year were Creamer’s Field items donated by a resident. Several milk bottles were sold for over $100 each, and were so popular that volunteers limited customers to one bottle each.
Inside her rambling home, beyond where the public was allowed to explore, there are huge windows with views of the surrounding forest. It’s quiet away from the chatter of the small crowd. Most of Waugaman’s belongings are outside with the visitors. Waugaman’s friend Dick Hanscom pointed out a light fixture that’s been flickering and joked that it’s Candy’s way to protest the sale’s discounts.
Dick Hanscom was adamant — nothing would be left by Tuesday. The sale was set to end at 5 p.m. Sunday. Once the sale ended, items will be separated into lots and sold to bidders by noon today.
When everything is gone, the home will be sold.
As of this writing, the total proceeds of the sale were yet to be calculated. However, Dick Hanscom anticipated that this year’s sale would earn as much as some of the more successful past sales, despite the discounts offered.
Waugaman seemed to preside over the sale, even in her physical absence. Volunteers spoke of her in the present tense. Customers told stories of her generosity. Her “no complaining” rule was honored with deference to a woman who would have held no quarter to whining.
“It’s a way for people to remember her and kind of say goodbye, for one last time, to support the charities she was in favor of and to talk to about her and tell stories about her. It’s been really nice,” Jan Hanscom said.
In addition to the Hanscoms, the sale got help from five or six other volunteers. Dick Hanscom said the sale would not have been possible without their help.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com