At the Eagle River Center in Eagle, volunteers are feverishly sorting, organizing, pricing and displaying the vast array of treasures that will go on sale this weekend at The Rummage Sale of Eagle County an annual event for bargain hunters, and something of a bonanza for dozens of Eagle County nonprofits.
For 53 years, the Eagle Valley Community Fund staged the rummage sale on the campus of the former Battle Mountain High School at Maloit Park in Minturn. However, when organizers learned that the building would be razed for new construction a few years ago, it looked like The Rummage Sale would go the way of the wrecking ball. After schlepping furniture for more than a half-century, the founding crew was happy to retire the event, and their tired backs with it. But diehard Rummage Sale fans refused to let it, finding a new organizer (the United Way of Eagle River Valley) and a new home (a 28,000-square-foot exhibition hall at the county fairgrounds).
“When the (issue of the) Rummage Sale came up, well, they give out money to local nonprofits; we give out money to local nonprofits,” says Rebecca Kanaly, United Way of Eagle River Valley executive director. “This was a very symbiotic relationship where we can help the rummage sale continue and we can also increase our footprint and relevance and what the community knows about United Way. It was a win-win.”
The Rummage Sale, she says, is a great way for the nonprofit to highlight its mission: to fight for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in our region, and also get its name out there.
“We really love it because United way has been here in the valley as a grantmaker, primarily, since 1996 and we are still relatively unknown by a lot of the community,” Kanaly adds.
In its new home, under new management, the heart and soul of The Rummage Sale remains the same. Volunteers give their time (last year, 187 volunteers gave 3,300 hours to the Rummage Sale) and, after the profits are tallied and the expenses are paid, the volunteers allocate their “hourly rate” to the nonprofit of their choice. Last year, $22,400 was distributed to dozens of local nonprofits; at least two received more than $4,000 because of the number of hours their volunteers put in.
This year, 53 registered nonprofits will benefit from The Rummage Sale.
“Really, it's a win-win for everyone,” Kanaly says. “It's a win for United Way. It's a win for the community. It's a win for the volunteers, a win for the nonprofits. At the end of the day, what I absolutely love about The Rummage Sale is that it's providing our local community with the opportunity to give their time and goods back to our fellow friends and neighbors. And it also provides quality, affordable clothing and goods.”
About those goods: from clothing and shoes to books, skis, art and even electronics, there’s a little something for everyone. Last year’s sale even included Waterford crystal decanters priced at $10 apiece.
“It’s not just cheap stuff,” Kanaly says with a laugh. “There are lots of treasures.”
The Rummage Sale of Eagle County, Eagle River Center (0794 Fairgrounds Rd, Eagle); Friday (Sept 13), 5–9 p.m.; Saturday (Sept 14), 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday (Sept 15), 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission: $10 on Friday, $1 on Saturday and Sunday; kids under 12 are free. therummagesale.org