MORTON — How much would you pay for a prime viewing spot for the Morton Pumpkin Festival parade, complete with a pop-up tent, electrical hook-ups, tables, parking spots and the use of indoor restrooms?
Carol and David Jankowski paid $170. They were the high bidders in an online auction conducted this month by the Morton Community Foundation, with proceeds going toward the foundation's operating expenses.
The tent came in handy Saturday, when temperatures climbed into the low 80s under a hot sun on the morning of the annual parade that's watched by thousands.
"This is a great way to enjoy the parade and support the foundation," said Carol Jankowski, director of the Morton division of the Midwest Food Bank and former foundation board president.
About 20 people — "neighbors, friends, my kids, my kids' friends," Carol Jankowski said — watched the parade from the Jankowski tent, located near the Giving Tree Garden next to the foundation office at 105 E. Jefferson St.
Five other Pumpkin Festival-related items, all donated, were auctioned by the foundation in its annual fundraiser.
Jim and Teresa Williams paid $230 for reserved spots to view the parade in a grassy area off East Jefferson adjacent to the Benckendorf & Benckendorf law office. Two parking spaces were included in the package.
A reserved parking spot each day of the four-day festival, in the Benckendorf & Benckendorf lot a few steps from the festival grounds, went for $225 to Cara Dennison.
Sarah Metzger had the winning bids of $200 and $250 for two wristbands and three wristbands for carnival rides. The wristbands were good for unlimited rides during the festival, which ended Saturday.
Kirk Bode had the winning bid of $280 for a Pumpkin Festival Fun Package that included 20 ride tickets, $100 in Pumpkin Bucks and four Pumpkin Festival T-shirts.
One other item was auctioned this month before the foundation's annual fall online auction that will have 60 to 70 items this year. Kim and Tim Gryl paid $350 for a Morton Potters football game night package that includes seats for up to six people in the Carper Field press box, premium parking, dinner, snacks and drinks.
Spots in the shade were hot items Saturday along the Pumpkin Festival parade route.
Morton Mayor Jeff Kaufman, elected in April, rode in the parade as mayor for the first time. He was right behind parade marshal Phil Kuhl, founder of longtime Morton business Kuhl Insurance and an active community member.
Among the more popular parade participants were the Morton High School marching band, which played the school's fight song several times along the route; wheelchair-bound, candy-tossing residents from the Apostolic Christian Restmor (wearing German attire because of the festival's Das Pumpkin theme); and dogs walked by representatives from Tender Care Animal Hospital.
The Pumpkin Festival is presented by the Morton Chamber of Commerce with help from hundreds of volunteers. This was the festival's 51st year.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.