The silent auction at the Ukrainian fundraiser at the Sonoita Fairgrounds saw spirited bidding on a host of donated items. Photo by Jo Dean

The March 6 fundraiser at the Sonoita Fairgrounds Pioneer Hall drew approximately 200 people and raised over $17,000 to support the war effort in Ukraine.

The gathering, organized by Canelo resident Jim Koweek, was characterized by hope and compassion for those facing war and the devastating effects. “It’s a serious subject, but it’s more of a gathering of friends and neighbors who want to support the Ukrainian people,” Koweek said.

The four-hour event was filled with genuine fun. Three local bands played, providing continual bluegrass music. Food was plentiful to purchase. The Ukrainian American Society of Tucson sold Ukrainian food, arts, and crafts. Thirty local businesses and dozens of other individuals provided auction items for both the silent auction and live auction, which was competitive and great fun. Auctioneer Dean Fish managed to keep everyone entertained while he raised money for various items. His expert abilities even managed to sell one dozen local free-range eggs for $30.

Because of the generosity of local businesses, musicians, auctioneer, and all participants, every penny will go directly to the “United 24” global initiative set up by Ukrainian President Zelensky. The fund is divided into three phases: ammunition, medical supplies, and rebuilding Ukraine. Donations can be targeted to any of the three phases. Donations can be made online at