Annual auction for Bong Center moves online

Funds raised by the event support programs and exhibits year-round.

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center. (File / Duluth News Tribune)

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center will host its annual Flying to New Heights Auction online at 7 p.m. Dec. 4.

For the last 16 years, the fundraiser has been held at Grandma’s Sports Garden. Making the move from an in-person to a virtual event this year opens the auction up to a wider audience.

“We’re going to be able to reach out across the country,” said auction chairman Tim Sauter. “We have viewing parties set up in Florida, California, Arizona — people who have come to the event in the past who are away from here. They’re going to log on and participate with people in their home.”

The hourlong livestream event will include video highlights of programming that takes place at the center, as well as the chairman’s challenge where Chairman Terry Lundberg matches donations made to fund those programs.

“Everything is directed back into the operations of the museum and improvements that are made to the displays, the exhibits. This is our largest fundraiser, something we need to survive,” Sauter said.


In recent years, the event has pulled in more than $100,000 annually to support the facility.

“We hope to be able to match that or exceed that with the virtual presentation, but we don’t know. It’s new territory for us,” Sauter said.

Auction items available this year include gold and silver coins, a wheelbarrow full of alcohol, a snow blower, gift certificates, memberships, crossbows and Packers tickets. Bidding opened Monday. Visit the auction website at to register for the event, view the auction items and place bids.

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Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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