PALMYRA, Mo. -- Palmyra has joined a growing number of communities in offering a new recreational outlet with a philanthropic purpose.
It's called Quarter Madness.
A group of Palmyra women launched the monthly activity in March and plan to keep offering it on the second Tuesday of each month in the Sesquicentennial Building at Flower City Park.
The next event will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Amanda Meyer, one of the founders, said Quarter Madness features bidding on a series of items donated by local businesses and people. All proceeds from the event are donated to a local charity that changes each month.
Meyer said the bidding on items "is different than a regular auction."
Here's how it works:
Participants become eligible to bid by buying a numbered paddle for $1. They also get a corresponding poker chip, bearing the same number, that gets dropped into a bucket.
When an item comes up for "auction," anyone interested in competing for the item raises their paddle and puts forward one quarter if the item is valued at up to $10. The bid must be two quarters if the items is valued at $11 to $20, three quarters if $21 to $30, and four quarters if $31 or more.
"If you want to bid on it, you put your paddle up and we have people who run with bowls and collect all the quarters and take them back up to the front," Meyer said.
Once all the quarters are collected, a drawing is held from the bucket of poker chips.
"If they pick you're poker chip, then you've won," Meyer said.
All poker chips are then returned to the bucket for the next auction, which begins immediately.
Participants need not bid on every item. Those not bidding are instructed to leave their paddles on the table.
"They could still select your poker chip from the bucket, but if you didn't pay or put your paddle up, then you don't win and they select another chip and go on to the next person," Meyer said.
Some people buy multiple paddles, which gives them multiple chances to win the drawings. But that means they must also multiply the number of quarters they bid for each item.
"There are people who buy five or six paddles," Meyer said. But many people just buy a single paddle and get as much enjoyment out of the evening's competition.
"For $10 -- a roll of quarters -- you can have a great, fun time," Meyer said.
All of the quarters wagered, along with the proceeds from the sale of paddles, are given to that month's selected charitable cause.
Meyer said the inaugural Palmyra Quarter Madness event raised $983 for Palmyra High School's after-prom party.
She said the charitable cause for Tuesday's event will be the Palmyra Swim Center.
The selected charity is asked to help solicit prizes for that month's Quarter Madness event. The charity also provides volunteer manpower for the event.
The charities also benefit from the sale of food and refreshments from vendors that vary from month to month.
Meyer said she first heard about Quarter Madness at an event held twice a year at Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Palmyra.
"I didn't even know what Quarter Madness was," she said. "I loved it. It was a lot of fun."
She started going to a Quarter Madness event in Hannibal and noticed quite a few other people from Palmyra were going to the same event every month.
"So a group of us girls decided we could do one ourselves in our town," she said.
Meyer said the organizers didn't know what to expect at the inaugural event in March.
"But we had a really great turnout," she said. "We were very happy with it."
Meyer said the Quarter Madness concept is growing in popularity because it's simple and fun, and it helps a good cause.
"It's something fun to do, and it's a way to give back to the community all at the same time," she said.
More information is available at the Palmyra Quarter Madness Facebook page.