Ugly Purses Up for Auction April 22

Ugly Purse Auction organizer Debbie Haumschild with members of the Casco Fire Department during the inaugural year of the event in 2016, which raised nearly $3,000 for the fire department. (Front row, from left) Daniel Haumschild, Debbie Haumschild, Jay Skarban, and Josh Lambert. (Back row, from left) Capt. Dan Laak, Chad Cochart, Carl Charles and Fire Chief Bruce DePeau. Submitted.


by Zach Jaeger

On April 22, Jim’s Bar in Casco will host the second annual Ugly Purse Auction. A live auction begins at 7 pm, followed by chili and karaoke. The proceeds of the fundraiser go to the Casco Fire Department.

At the auction, bidders will wage war over donated purses that have seen better days. To understand why you’d want one of these old, tattered purses, you’ll have to look past their dated exterior; mystery prizes fill each purse, with some of them from last year valued at up to $450. The prizes range from gift certificates to local businesses and cash prizes to larger items which are set on display.

Debbie Haumschild, a Casco resident and organizer of the event, was put on to the idea of doing an ugly purse auction by her friend Janie Mohney.

“Me and Janie were talking one day and she mentioned [the purse auction] for a fundraiser idea,” Haumschild said. “We thought it was a hilarious idea, so I figured we’d try it.” Mark Mohney, Janie’s husband, serves as the auctioneer as well as the DJ for the karaoke that follows the auction. Haumschild brought the event back after raising almost $3,000 last year.

The funds from Haumschild’s fundraising help the volunteer department keep up with the costs of aging equipment. According to Fire Chief Bruce DePeau, the department is set to receive a new fire engine this August to replace a 32-year-old pumper. Because of the age of the current engine, an almost complete overhaul of equipment is needed. The new engine will be able to pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute. “So then we’ll be able to keep up,” DePeau joked. The Casco Fire Department’s main response area is within the village, however, they provide mutual aid to the greater Kewaunee County community as well as to Brown and Door counties.

Haumschild has fundraised for the Casco Fire Department for 27 years, ever since moving in next to then-Fire Chief Wayne Vandenhouten. She began with fundraising through her work as an Avon sales representative and more recently through bake sales and holiday gift wrap events. Over the years, Haumschild has raised upwards of $27,000 for the fire department.

“She’s been a major fundraiser for us over the years,” DePeau said of Haumschild. “She’s enabled us to do a lot of things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.”

The Casco Fire Department is well supported by its community. Haumschild’s son, Daniel Haumschild, has served as a firefighter for four years. Both Jim’s Bar and TJ’s Pub & Grill, which hosted the event last year, are owned by families with service ties to the department. There are several other annual fundraisers for the department as well, including a 5k/10k run/walk every May and a cookout/milk bottle tournament every October.

“We’ve been very lucky with all of the support we’ve had county-wide,” DePeau said.

In addition to helping out the fire department, the Casco community enjoys the opportunity to get together and have a good time.

“Last year, everybody had a great time,” DePeau said. “[The auction] was kind of like a bunch of kids bidding on candy bars.”

People also enjoyed the karaoke, which is a rare occurrence in Casco. Perhaps it will catch on after this year’s Ugly Purse Auction.


Anyone interested in donating an ugly purse or learning about Casco rummage sales can contact Debbie Haumschild at 920.837.2152.

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