50th Community Rummage Sale and Auction hits Minturn this week | VailDaily.com

50th Community Rummage Sale and Auction hits Minturn this week

Vi Brown, of Eagle Valley Community Fund, organizes some jewelry in one of the 14 rooms filled with items for the upcoming Rummage Sale this weekend. The 50th Eagle Valley Rummage Sale is Aug. 16, 17, 23 and 24.
Anthony Thornton | athornton@vaildaily.com |

MINTURN — Imagine Carl Sagan wandering around intoning “billions and billions” as he strolls around the 50th annual Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale and Auction.

It’s 14 rooms stuffed with wonderful stuff, and all for a great cause.

It’s still one of the social events of the season. Opening day will see 5,000 people through the door.

People start lining up at 6 a.m. Saturday and are backed up across the road when the doors open at 6:45 a.m., and then the stampede starts.

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The Fabulous Fifties

Some nods at all things 50:

Because it’s the 50th anniversary, they’re giving away a pair of $50 gift certificates for the 50th sale.

Vail is 50 years old.

The sale is 50 years old.

Vi and Byron Brown have been together 53 years. They run the thing.

The best number involving fives and zeros?

Since it launched in 1964, the sale has $5 million for local nonprofits.

Gotta have it!

Every year there is stuff that makes even the most reserved shopper’s pulse quicken, and exclaim, “Oh my Gawd! I’ve gotta have that!”

A couple years ago, it was a camel harness for hitching up the dromedary of your dreams. One year it was an old school bus. This year’s best of show might be a dancing and singing model Elvis.

The Hawaiian Wall is next to the Cowboy Wall, which will make even the most sophisticated Vail Valleyan sing “Yuppie Tie Yo Tie Yay!” It’s just over from the Christmas Wall, which will make the Grinch smile.

Before you buy exercise equipment, you gotta see theirs. The good folks at the new Minturn recreation center had an extra exercise cycle, so instead of sending it back they gave it to the sale.

Nancy Nottingham’s toy room is a thing of wonder. She has the stuffed animals organized by type. Build-a-Bear stuffed animals are beside the Beanie Babies, which are by the regular plush toys, so try not to get them mixed up.

The Teen Shop comes complete with eye rolling and the Women’s Department has the same problem most women’s closets have — too many clothes. They had to put some of it outside in an annex — sort of the same way you have hers and hers closets in your home.

“We’re thankful that they do because we end up with so many of them,” Vi said.

They have your Hawaiian shirts complete with a sign that promises, “If you buy a Hawaiian shirt, you will hear the ocean.”

There’s a knick knack room where you can buy, among other stuff, a Vail 50th ceramic shot glass shaped like a leather ski boot. It’s less than a year old.

The linen room may be the last place on God’s green earth that people can properly fold a king-sized fitted sheet. Go there early Saturday and run straight there so you can bask in its glory for a few minutes before the soiled masses sully them. Or buy them.

A Beaver Creek hotel was renovating and donated bookshelves. On them you’ll find more than 1,000 cookbooks. If you can’t think of something for dinner, then you’re unnecessarily taking up space on the planet.

A community jewel

The Eagle Valley Community Rummage Sale started in 1964, just two years after Vail did.

Some local women were raising money to pay Vail’s first schoolmaster, back when the town’s first school, Vail’s Country Day School, was above the fire station.

Eventually, after they paid off $50,000 in costs to launch Vail’s first school, they decided to channel the money into the Eagle Valley Community Fund. It’s become one of the area’s most beloved institutions.

Vi and Byron Brown have been riding herd on the community rummage sale since about 1968. Back when Dowd Junction was downvalley, it took about a week to get everything sorted, priced, cleaned and ready to sell.

Now it takes all summer, but they pay their people — sort of.

Volunteers earn money for the charity or nonprofit of their choice for each hour they work. Groups from Boy Scouts to high school bands are there, usually having more fun than working people should.

Folks working to prepare for the sale range from school kids to grandparents, and bring a similar range of opinions and talents.

They can still use volunteers. Just show up. They’ll find something for you to do.

Some folks volunteer more voluntarily than others.

Local judges will occasionally sentence those who’ve run afoul of the law to serve volunteer hours.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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