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Come experience the Zen of charity bidding fun at Ann Arbor's Zenefit

There will be many items you would expect and not expect at the Zenifit in Ann Arbor

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There will be many items you would expect and not expect at the Zenifit in Ann Arbor
Photo by Donald Michael Schwartz, March 17, 2010

Spring is near, and in Ann Arbor that means the Zenefit is just around the corner.  The Zenefit is held each year, around the beginning of Spring, at the Zen Temple at 1214 Packard in Ann Arbor.

This year the Zenefit will be held Saturday, March 20 at 6 pm.

Admission is $5 per person or $20 per family.  The price includes entertainment and vegetarian food donated by local vendors and Zen Temple members.

The Zenefit offers up, each year, Buddhist inspired art and alter items that you would expect. But there is also always plenty of unexpected treasures.  Check out the slide show below for a sampling of items available at this years auction.

There are many services also available for bidding at this year's Zenefit.

Two of the perennial favorite services are up for bid this year.

"One of the highlights of the every year at the auction is the Poem Dinner," said Terry Beamsley, the auctioneer for this year's Zenefit.  "One of our members is an accomplished cook and she teaches vegetarian cooking classes...Every year she auctions off the chance for [a wining bidder] to pick a poem. She [then] takes the poem that they pick [and] designs a menu around that poem, then she comes to their home and cooks the meal," explained Beamsley.

The other perennial favorite back this year is the offer of  Two Hours of Brute Strength & a Pickup Truck.

"There is a lot of spirited bidding around that one each year.  He's just one heck of a strong worker, so you get more than your money's worth from that one," said Beamsley.

An elegant addition to the services bidding market this year is the evening of Zen and the Art of Violin Making.  This consists of a tour of the studio by the violin maker and a personally prepared Italian dinner.

Other services up for bid include, a dog psychologist session, a group of reiki sessions, a fermentation class, a guided mountain bike tour of Ann Arbor (bikes are included), a life coaching session, and a guided bird walk.

Beamsley said that half the fun of the Zenefit auction are the surprising turn of events each year.

"What is attractive sometimes depends completely on the people who walk through the door," said Beamsley, "So sometimes there are things that get bid up very high, because you never know what someone is really going to like."

Sometimes there can be some unexpected fevered bidding for some of the oddest things, said Beamsley.

Three or four years ago someone donated a little statue of a dog meditating.  Everybody looked at that statue and said, 'that is the weirdest thing I've ever seen,' but there were all sorts of people who thought it was so weird that they wanted it. So the bidding started and went, and it went, and that silly meditating dog statue sold for over $100.  [It] was wonderful, because it was for a good cause.

This year's causes are the Temple's children's program and earthquake relief for Haiti.

"It is an enjoyable outing, no matter what age you are," Beamsley pointed out, "there are things for kids to bid on at very small prices. So they get to join in and they have a good time," Beamsley explained.

There is also a kids' corner providing activities for kids to do.

Beamsley noted that the Zenefit committee is very excited by music being offered this year by local musical artist Tracy Mack.

Call the Zen Buddhist Temple at 734.761.6520 for more information.