One of the biggest items - in both size and value - to be part of the 28th annual benefit auction for EVE Inc., is so large it won't even fit in the room for the event.
When the doors open at the Lafayette Hotel Friday at 6 p.m. for the auction, there will be dozens of items for sale and one 1931 George Steck baby grand piano that will be there only in photographs.
"Since it is so huge, we can't have it at the auction, but we're absolutely delighted about it," said auction co-chairwoman Molly Varner. "But people can call us if they want to see it in advance. It's in very good condition and was recently refurbished."
The piano, which requires an $800 minimum bid, was a donation from Marietta College Provost Rita Smith Kipp and her husband, Rich.
Aside from being a first for the auction, the piano is unique in that all the money it raises will go toward a specific program: the Washington County Supervised Visitation Center.
The center had lost about $5,000 worth of grant funding this year and the EVE board wants the proceeds from the sale to help make up the difference, said board member and auction co-chairwoman Robin Bozian.
If you go
What: 28th annual Benefit Auction for EVE Inc.
When: Friday; doors open at 6 p.m., silent auction and social hour at 7, live auction at 8:30.
Where: Sternwheel Ballroom of the Lafayette Hotel, 101 Front St., Marietta.
Cost: $20 per person, $175 for a table that seats 10; reservations suggested by calling 374-5820.
"It's a very, very important service to the community," she said. "It provides a safe place to exchange custody and allows some people to have visitation that otherwise might not be able to."
The remainder of the money raised at the auction will be used for operational expenses for the domestic violence shelter and support network and as match money for state and federal grants EVE receives.
"Every dollar from the auction can bring in another $3 in other funding," said Varner. "It's important to us. This isn't extra money."
Most grants pay for specific services like counseling or transitional housing but don't cover other expenses, said Bozian.
"A lot of times they don't cover the plain old shelter costs," she said. "This money can go toward that."
EVE served more than 800 people and took more than 5,116 hotline calls in 2009 from victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The board sets a goal each year of raising $25,000 at the fundraiser and comes close most years, even as the economy has suffered.
"We're very lucky because the community really supports us," said Varner. "We've had a couple of businesses who can't give or can't give to the same extent, but in general businesses and individuals have been just as supportive as they have been in the past. Last year when the bidding started, it didn't seem like there was much hesitation."
The items up for sale this year include artwork, business gift certificates, food, complete auto detailing, a birthday party at McDonald's, handmade items, gift baskets, a trip to the beach and more.
"It's the usual wild variety," said Varner. "You can come, bring your friends and bid against each other. It's a lot of fun."
The cost to attend is $20 per person or $175 for a table, which seats 10 people. There will be music, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.
Doors open at 6 p.m., with the silent auction and social hour beginning at 7 and the live auction starting at 8:30.
"It's a great time," said Bozian. "It's for a great cause but it's more than just a charitable event because people really have a wonderful time."