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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 9 - 15, 2002


Annual garage sale draws hordes

Community School 
reaps record revenues

Express Staff Writer

As the first hints of morning sunshine came over The Community School’s Sagewillow Campus in Elkhorn on Saturday, hundreds of Idaho residents sipped on hot coffee to keep warm as they jockeyed for position in a line that slithered hundreds of yards from the entry gate.

They angled for first glances through the doors of the school’s barn and stables, and grinned widely as they reminisced about deals made in years past.

Hundreds of bargain hunters lined up early Saturday morning outside The Community School’s barn complex in Elkhorn, hoping to get first dibs on thousands of items offered for sale at the school’s annual garage sale when the doors opened at 8:30 a.m. Express photos by Willy Cook

And as the barn doors opened and the crowd lunged forward, their $1 entry fees in hand, The Community School’s 2002 Garage Sale was underway.

The locally famous event has been a community tradition in Sun Valley for more than a decade, offering eager bargain hunters a prime opportunity to purchase thousands of items—few of which resemble typical garage-sale refuse—at more than reasonable prices. With profits going toward student scholarships and augmenting the school budget, dozens of students, teachers and boosters volunteer to work long hours to organize and staff the sale.

After the dust had cleared from the site on Monday, this year’s event was declared a bonified success. "I certainly think it was successful," school headmaster Jon Maksik said. "It all seemed to go very smoothly, and it truly had the feel of a community event."

The initial tally of gross revenues from the garage sale was $113,000, Maksik said. He noted that the final sum would likely eclipse last year’s gross sales total, and may set a record.

Hailey resident Frank Andrews was thrilled to find a pair of vintage Rossignol cross-country skis at The Community School Garage Sale Saturday morning. The skis he purchased were one of several dozen pairs of alpine, skate and classic skis offered for sale from $5 to $25. Express photos by Willy Cook

While revenues were garnered from food and beverage sales and a $1 admission fee charged until noon Saturday, most of the money was brought in from the sales of seemingly countless items donated to the school from Wood River Valley residents.

Inside the Sagewillow barn complex, volunteers prior to the sale separated, organized and priced every item presented for sale, in effect creating a mini-mall of second-hand treasures.

Neatly categorized in separate sale areas were heaps of skis, tennis racquets and other sporting gear, bed linens, books, musical recordings, housewares, office products, computers and electronics, baskets, kitchen utensils, holiday decorations, pet supplies, furniture, clothing and toys. Above one of many eclectic booths converted out of the barn’s stalls, one sign beckoned visitors to pore through items labeled "Questionable Collectibles."

After the Saturday morning buyers eagerly but calmly passed through the doors and headed for their favorite sections, volunteers hawked $10 pairs of skis, $3 dress shirts and anything else that caught someone’s eye.

Less than one-half hour into the event, the primary hallway through the barn stables was packed with shoppers toting giant bags, leaving some onlookers with absolutely no room to move.

"This is insanity," one shopper laughed, before diving into a booth full of children’s books and vintage sets of hardcover novels.

Moments later, another shopper emerged from a room full of sporting gear ranging from wetsuits and snorkeling masks to bird cages and fishing rods. He purchased two bags full of goods, walked outside, and warned newcomers of the competitive proceedings in the barn.

"It’s a zoo," he said, as shoppers from throughout Blaine County and other regions of the state made their way to the barn. "It’s absolutely packed!"

Apart from the sea of bargain goods offered throughout the site, volunteers in the middle of the barn solicited bids on a handful of specialty items offered in a silent auction.

Among the auction items were quality Persian rugs, antique furnishings, log beds and one of the most talked about offerings, a 1973 Volkswagen bus.

On Sunday, after the scene had calmed and many of the most-attractive products had been sifted through and sold, volunteers offered bags of leftover clothing for a mere $5, and bundles of so-called "boutique" clothing for $8.

With most of the items sold to new owners, headmaster Maksik after the close of the garage sale praised the organizers of the event, The Community School Parents’ Association.

"I thought it was extraordinarily well run," he said. "Many of the volunteers started working on this last spring, and worked for months and months getting it organized."

Maksik said that organizers this year made a special effort to keep the hordes of shoppers from disrupting the quiet neighborhoods around the Sagewillow Campus. Cars were efficiently directed away from homes on nearby Arrowleaf Road, and toward parking lots adjacent to the barn complex.

In previous years, some Elkhorn residents have complained about noise and traffic caused by the annual event. However, Maksik said Monday that no residents had yet complained to the school about this year’s sale.

"We went out of our way to keep the disturbances to a minimum," he said.



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