While they may not make for great house pets, homing pigeons make for very entertaining races, and in the process help to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Rotary Clubs to put towards worthy causes in the community. This year`s auction takes place once again at the George Dawson Inn this Friday starting at 6 p.m.

It is always quite the sight to see local people bidding hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on the birds, scrambling to out-bid a fellow Rotarian or business associate for the chance to claim a premium racing bird. There are 20 birds up for bid this year, and Rotarian Alex Reschny said with the banquet and the entire pigeon racing circuit, they expect to raise in excess of $50,000 this year.

The live auction is for the rights to pigeons that will be flying in the final race of the circuit taking place on Sunday. The pigeons will be released from Peace River, Alta., at about 9 a.m., and through natural instinct, the birds immediately begin to fly back to their home, which is the residence of Lance and Caron Jones just outside of Pouce Coupe. Reschny said there will be a barbeque and refreshments served at the home starting at around 10 a.m., and he added he expects the birds will begin arriving at around 12 p.m.

Races were held earlier this summer from Blueberry Mountain, Fairview and Grimshaw in Alberta.

For those who don`t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a pigeon, there is still other ways to enjoy the evening while supporting the Rotary Clubs. There will be a draw board where people can pay $5 to guess the arrival time of the winning bird in Sundays race. There will also be a silent auction featuring many great items donated generously by local businesses and individual, a raffle for two fine, hand-made quilts, and other fundraisers, as well as, of course, a fine dinner.

“It’s a fun evening, and there is lots for everybody to do,“ said Reschny.

He said almost all of the proceeds from the event go into local projects, and he said going forward that may include repairs and improvements to the Rotary Walking Trail, finishing the palliative care rooms at Rotary Manor, working with the Mizpah Transition House to provide starter kits for women fleeing abusive relationships, or building a new home for the Reconnect Youth Services program.

Tickets can still be purchased in advance for the banquet by contacting Alex Reschny at 250-719-9932 or Sue Lavoey at 250-782-1067, or they can be purchased at the door on Friday evening.