Let’s get ready to rummage! 53rd annual EVCF rummage sale returns to Minturn | VailDaily.com

Let’s get ready to rummage! 53rd annual EVCF rummage sale returns to Minturn

MINTURN — What has 14 rooms, a dozen massive tents and a huge parking lot stuffed with toys, clothes and other materials?

The 53rd annual Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale.

It starts Saturday morning, runs through Sunday and the following weekend.

This is the penultimate run. The school district owns the Maloit Park building, and it's coming down in 2018 as part of the bond projects up and down the Vail Valley.

The rummage sale is 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. The stampede starts at 6:45 a.m., when the doors open.

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People even plan their vacations around it.

"We have customers from all over the country who come back every year," said Pete Thompson, one of the scores of volunteers. "In fact, we have volunteers from all over the country."

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 of years ago, it was a camel harness for hitching up the dromedary of your dreams. Another year, it was an old school bus.

This year, a bunch of that sort of stuff is being kept under cover for a silent auction, so you'll have to go see for yourself.

And oh my, the things you'll see.

We weren't supposed to peek, but in the name of The Public's Right to Know, we lifted some tarps and took a look.

There's a huge set of china made in England in 1913, a pair of porcelain ducks that retail for $900 — although you won't pay that much — a 75-year-old doll house, a gumball machine … the list is long and distinguished and includes 50 gift certificates from local businesses.

Mapping your strategy

For the uptight types, they have a map that shows you where certain items are stuffed. The rest of us are not lost, we're exploring.

The Hawaiian wall is next to the Cowboy wall, which is by the Christmas wall.

There's a room filled with housewares, a linen room and new items room. Then there's a room filled with separate rooms that are filled with infant goods and children, women and men's clothing.

Ski or snowboard gear and clothing has its own huge room. It's near a room filled with jeans and sweaters.

There are computers, printers, flat-screen televisions, exercise equipment, rugs, paintings, frames, bicycles, furniture and other sporting goods.

The book room boasts more than 1,000 cookbooks. If you can't think of something for dinner, then you're not trying.

Before you buy exercise equipment, you gotta see theirs. They have all kinds of bike racks and ski racks, so you can feel athletic even if you simply drive around with them on your car.

A community jewel

The Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale started in 1964, 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 has become one of the area's most beloved institutions.

Vi and Byron Brown rode herd on it for most of its first 50 years, starting in 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.

Vi Brown was always fond of saying it's a little like the story of the Little Red Hen. If you don't help make the bread, then you don't get any.

Those who help prepare for the sale get pieces of a good-sized loaf. About 70 local groups split nearly $200,000 most years, all portioned out based on how much their volunteers donate to the sale.

The amount of money varies a little, but one thing does not change: They give away every dime.

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

If You Go …

What: 53rd annual Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale.

When: 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, Saturday, Aug. 26, and Sunday Aug. 27.

Where: Maloit Park, Minturn.

Cost: $1 to get in Saturdays. Free for kids 16 and younger.

More information: On Saturday, Aug. 19, the sale features a silent auction tent, and on the second weekend of the sale, everything is half price. To reach Maloit Park, take the Minturn exit off Interstate 70, drive south through Minturn and follow the signs. For more information, call 970-827-9426 or 970-845-7070 or go to http://www.eaglevalleyrummagesale.com.