Community fund sale returns for 51st year
If You Go
What: Annual Eagle Valley Community Fund Auction & Rummage Sale.
Where: Maloit Park, Minturn.
When: The sale starts Saturday, 6:45 a.m.-5 p.m. Other sale days are August 16. And August 22-23, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
What’s there: What isn’t? You’ll find ski gear and clothing, summer and winter clothing, toys, books, games, furniture... you get the idea.
Where the money goes: About 70 local nonprofit groups split around $200,000 each year.
More info: Call 970-827-9426 or go to www.eaglevalleyrummagesale.com.
Directions to Maloit Park
Exit I-70 and head south on Highway 24 through Minturn.
After passing through downtown Minturn, travel three miles through residential areas.
Look for a wooden sign on the right hand side that reads EVCH Sale, Maloit Park.
Turn right and travel 500 yards to the parking area.
MINTURN — Imagine Carl Sagan repeating “billions and billions” as he strolls around the Eagle Valley Community Fund Auction & Rummage Sale.
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 saw 5,000 people through the door and the event runs through next weekend, Aug.22 and 23.
The last ones out the door were among the first ones in. Vi and Byron Brown have been riding herd on the event since about 1968.
This year’s 51st annual event is their last.
“I’m going to ride off into the sunset with my dude and see what the rest of the world’s doing,” Vi said.
It’ll go for at least one more year, and Vi said she hopes someone will keep it going after that.
In 51 years they’ve raised more than $6 million, Vi said, and have given it all away.
“We hope someone can take it over and make some money with it. Some of those local nonprofits can’t do their own fundraisers,” Vi said.
A community jewel
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.
The stuff is good; the cause is better. But friendships are the most precious.
Volunteers come from every corner of the county.
“We’ve all become acquainted, and that would not have happened if we didn’t have something that we worked on together all summer,” Vi said.
For each hour they work, volunteers earn money for the charity or nonprofit of their choice, usually having more fun than working people should. The 70 local nonprofits split between $120,000 and $200,000 a year.
Seniors from Eagle’s Golden Eagle Center regularly ride to Minturn to volunteer, and it’s a good thing.
“They’re the only people on earth who can still correctly fold a fitted king-sized sheet,” Vi said smiling.
In the beginning
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 school master, Allen Brown, to teach their kids.
“They didn’t have any money to pay his wages,” Vi said.
Eventually, Vi and some others dedicated all their hours to Friends of the School. They raised $50,000 to launch Vail’s first public school, a one-room affair above the clinic.
Cash and karma
Some folks volunteer more readily than others. Judges will occasionally sentence those who’ve run afoul of the law to serve volunteer hours.
And volunteers create good karma.
A few years ago, volunteer Dale Nelson misplaced his prescription sunglasses and wandered around late Friday afternoon looking for them.
He found them in the sunglass bin, already marked. Two bucks.
Volunteers occasionally design their own ensembles.
The T-shirt reading, “Who are all these kids and why are they calling me daddy?” was not donated by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Sarah Palin ensemble was a fleece jacket with a moose drool water bottle dangling from the zipper.
There was a Michael Jackson jacket, complete with the hat and a white glove.
Stuffed with stuff
Every year, there’s stuff that makes even the most reserved shopper’s pulse quicken, and exclaim, “I’ve gotta have that!”
One year it was a camel harness for hitching up the dromedary of your dreams. One year it was an old school bus.
The Hawaiian Wall is next to the Cowboy Wall, which is just over from the Patriotic Wall — and you won’t need to buy holiday stuff anywhere else. They have three rooms full.
The toy room is a thing of wonder. Stuffed animals are 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.
Among the zillions of books are more than 1,000 cookbooks. If you can’t think of something for dinner, you’re not trying.
Jeans, sweats and sweaters are in one room. Books, kids stuff, kitchen stuff, new stuff, electronics stuff, men’s stuff and sports stuff all have their own rooms.
Outside, the crutches are conveniently located close to the ski gear.
Women have a room and a tent, because … well, you know.
The second weekend everything is half price, and you can get deals like a buck for a grocery bag filled with books.
What is left over is bagged up and Goodwill from Denver sends a semi to collect it.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.