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St. James prepping for rummage sale

76th annual event starts with preview on Sept. 19

By Nan Thomas

Before there were yearly rummage sales, the women of St. James would hold occasional fundraisers for the missionary fund or Sunday school or altar guild.

Now church members are in full swing getting ready for the 76th annual Golden Elephant rummage sale.

It will be held at St. James Hall, 7776 Eads, (corner of Eads and Silverado), with the main event on Sept. 20.

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Though the place has changed from a private home to the hall, the sale’s purpose continues to be raising funds for local, national and international charities, all the while promoting fellowship among the volunteer workers.

And they’re expecting another well-attended event, which is once again under the guidance of Paul Pitman, Susy Jones, many longstanding volunteers, and the help of some enthusiastic teenagers under the watchful eye of Youth Director Chris Bernard.

First Choice Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 is especially designed to appeal to buyers with eclectic taste. Admission is $10 with advance purchase tickets at the church office, or $15 at the door. Twenty percent is added to the list prices for this preview night, and complimentary wine and cheese are served that night only.

The next day, Sept. 20, is the main sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, and the Holy Smoke Grill will be selling hamburgers and hotdogs from 11 a.m. until the food runs out.

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Sunday, Sept. 21 is the half-price sale from noon to 3 p.m.

All proceeds from this all-volunteer go to local, national and international charities.

The church’s first recorded rummage sale was in 1905 at the home of Imogene Van Schaick on Hillside Drive. It netted $145 for the missionary fund.

In 1932, the first annual White Elephant sale was held to bring bargain-priced items to people suffering in the Great Depression as well as to support the missionary fund and to promote fellowship among the church ladies who worked the sale.

It continued year after year in the church building in what came to be known as the Van Schaick room. After World War II, the church acquired the former USO building across Silverado, which became known as St. James Hall. The sale had found a new home.

Eventually, the years took their toll on the Hall and in 1994 a remodel was begun. The ladies decreed that the sale would go on and used all the nooks and crannies of the church, excepting only the sacred spaces, for that year’s sale. The next year they moved into the newly renovated hall where the sale continues today.