It was a competition that included trash-talking, taunting and lots of friendly gamesmanship -- and we're not talking about the Olympic Games.
Local artists raised thousands of dollars for neighborhood projects through an auction at the Art & Soul on the Fox and Passeggiata Sunday. More than 30 original pieces, each painted on to a bistro table and chairs, had been displayed throughout the Elgin area. The public voted for the 10 favorite sets, which were put on the block during a live auction Sunday, while the remaining pieces were part of a silent auction. The live bids alone totaled more than $1,200.
The top 10 bistro sets included designs for A-1 Cab, The Elgin Public House and Al's Creamery. Sets attracted bids up to $140.
"There were 84,000 votes in 10 days," Art & Soul coordinator and founder Sigi Psimenos said. "It was a tight race between A-1 Cab and the Elgin Public House. They were separated by about 100 votes. They were telling customers not to vote for the other. It was all good fun and a great competition."
The proceeds will benefit neighborhood projects and groups that are short on funding. Last year, about $3,000 in leftover money from Art & Soul was given to three art students in the form of scholarships.
Mike Warren, a former Elgin city councilman, was the highest bidder for a bistro table designed for the Gifford Park Association. The polka dots on the table caught the eye of Warren's daughter, Lindsay. The table and chairs will look good on a screened-in porch at the Warren family home, or even at the library, Warren said.
"It says 'reading is fun' on it, so the library might be a good place for it," he said.