Giant auction benefits Amish schools


Clark Payne places a hand-carved wooden horse on a table during setup at the Delaware Amish Parochial School Sale that begins on Saturday in west Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Eli Yoder looked out at all of the items spread throughout the massive field on an Amish farm at 764 Winding Creek Drive just west of Dover, chuckled and said, “I always say if it’s not here, it’s probably not made.”

Mr. Yoder and dozens of others were busy Thursday morning making last-minute preparations for Saturday’s 33rd annual Delaware Amish Parochial School Sale, which will benefit local Amish schools.

The event is not just for the Amish. Mr. Yoder said English (non-Amish) people are welcome to come out and bid on the bevy of items and enjoy all of the wonderful food that the Amish prepare. He added that the event attracts people from as far away as California.

The weekend gets rolling from 5 until 9 tonight with the second annual Friday Night Sale that is highlighted by homemade pulled pork dinners complete with potato salad, dinner roll and a drink.

There will also be a small amount of antiques, homemade wooden crafts and handmade quilted comforts for sale on Friday.

“Last year was the first night for our Friday night auction and we had a really, really good turnout,” Mr. Yoder said, “so we’re going to try it again this year.”

While Friday kicks it all off, it is Saturday when thousands of people will descend on the farm from 8:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. and will bid on items ranging from Amish buggies, hand-crafted furniture, farm equipment, Longerberger baskets, woodworking tools, collectibles, quilts, household items and much more.

Amish boys help during the Delaware Amish Parochial School Sale that begins on Saturday in west Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

All of the money raised will help the Amish community keep their schoolhouses in good repair and will help buy books for students. Last year’s sale brought in close to $90,000 for the schools.

“This is a very large event that we have going here,” Mr. Yoder said. “It takes from Monday at noon until Friday at 12 o’clock to get everything set up and in here and then it takes a few hours to prep for the Friday evening dinner and auction.

“By Saturday night, three-quarters of this stuff, or more, will be gone.”

Mr. Yoder said the Amish rent two massive tents, one for antiques and another for furniture.

Among the new features at this year’s benefit sale will be brand-new rustic aspen furniture out of Smicksburg, Pennsylvania, and also new rustic hickory furniture out of Path Valley, Pennsylvania, up for auction.

“We have a lot of stuff,” said Mr. Yoder. “There are local craftsmen around here also that put stuff in the antique tent and the furniture tent. There’s just a tremendous amount of stuff going on.

“We get a lot of people in. Last year we had around 2,500 registered bidder cards go out and we take that and times it by three and that tells you about how many people are here.”

Amish men prepare to unload a buggy during setup at the Delaware Amish Parochial School Sale. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

A couple of must-brings for people planning to visit the Amish sale — a hefty appetite and lots of cash. Most food vendors and a flea market section do not accept debit or credit cards.

“Saturday is when we’ll have barbecue chicken, homemade subs, hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken salad sandwiches, and more,” Mr. Yoder said. “In the morning, starting by 6:30, we’ll have homemade sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, scrapple sandwiches, egg sandwiches and orange juice, chocolate milk, coffee and homemade donuts.

“They all will be made Friday so they’re fresh for Saturday morning … and lots of them.”

Bruce Rickards, of Dagsboro, was among those bringing in items for auction on Thursday. He said he can’t wait to come back on Saturday.

“I love it here,” he said. “You can get a little bit of everything and they’ve got good food. You can’t beat it.”

Shirley Donovan, of Dover, said she has been bringing items out to the auction for around 25 years. It’s a day that she thoroughly enjoys.

Shirley Donovan of Dover displays a Frear egg beater (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“This is a really big event,” Ms. Donovan said. “In fact, it carries me financially the whole winter. I’m also a cat rescue, so it helps me buy cat litter and cat food and stuff like that.”

Ms. Donovan had a wide array of items on her wagon that will be up for sale … even a toy camel for children to ride.

She said as a bonus she will be giving away more than $1,000 in prizes to people who purchase items off her wagon, including a Michael Kors purse.

“I can’t wait for it all to begin,” Ms. Donovan said. “Just the food alone out here is incredible. And just look around at all of the different items that will be for sale out here.

“It’s a great event and something I look forward to every year.”

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