Friday, October 1, 2004

Attention, bargain hunters

The community School garage sale is this weekend

Express Staff Writer

Gerri Pesch holds an antique Chinese teapot, while standing amidst fine art and a Schwinn mountain bike, which are just a few of the finds to be had at The Community School garage sale this weekend. Photo by David N. Seelig

It?s become the garage sales of all garage sales. Each fall, eager shoppers brave the crisp morning to arrive hours before the sale starts hoping to get their hands on the thousands of items inside.

This year treasures abound at the Annual Community School Garage Sale sponsored by The Community School Parent?s Association. The sale happens Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sagewillow Barn in Elkhorn.

This is not the typical garage sale. This year the thousands of items up for grabs include a 2001 Jeep Sahara, a 1991 BMW R100 Road Bike, fine art and a portable ice rink.

?It?s a great community event with something for everybody,? Gerri Pesch, a chairperson of the event, said.

The sale began years ago as a one-day, one-car garage fundraiser. Over the years the sale morphed into an all year affair, culminating in an annual two day extravaganza.

?It?s like cooking a fine meal, it takes a long time to prepare for and then it?s all gone,? Pesch explained.

Pesch understands the effort that goes into the sale each year. She has been on board for years helping to organize the event along with long-time volunteers Prue Hemmings and Mimi Amrit.

Throughout the years, the women have played a vital role to keep the event alive.

?Everybody used to laugh at the sale, until they saw the big check,? Hemmings said.

Proceeds from the sale benefit The Community School?s financial aid programs, classroom and teaching programs.

Along with raising money the three vintage queens entertain a buffet of memories from the event. One year a bus dropped off a load of people from Salt Lake City. Another, year Sherry Daech donated her closet. Then, there was the day Pesch, Hemmings and Amrit?the self-titled vintage queens?dressed from head to toe in garage sale items for a ladies luncheon.

?The whole reason we stuck together was it had to be fun,? Hemmings said.

The fun comes with its share of hard work. Preparations happen throughout the year with the help of many people. Volunteers pick up items, sort donations and carefully organize merchandise into departments. The barn houses sec-tions like winter sports, furniture, electronics and linens. There is even an auction room with antiques, fine art and de-signer furniture.

Throughout the process nothing goes to waste.

?It all gets recycled into the community,? Pesch said.

The secondhand items find new owners. Those items that do not sell are donated to others. Organizers send reference materials and textbooks to Central and South America. The Wood River Land Trust receives appliances and building materials to be sold at the Building Thrift Store. The Boy Scouts collect remaining items after the sale. Other items are donating to organizations in the community.

?All of this stuff recycles and really helps people,? Amrit said.

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