History

One hundred years; quite an anniversary for our yard sale! "In May 1912 the first fair was held on the lawn between the Rectory and the Parish House. It raised $600 from the sale of articles largely made by the ladies of the parish who met at the home of Mrs. Arthur L. Walker". Laura Revere Little was one of the most active parishioners of St. Paul's, many time chair of the fair, among numerous other activities. This first fair is mentioned in Sketch of the History of St. Paul's Church in Brookline: 1849-­‐1949.

  • The first mention of a fall fair is in the May 1932 Vestry minutes.
  • No mention of 1942, but in 1949 the income from the fair was $2,498.
  • On October 25, 1952 the fair took place from 2-­‐5 p.m. Luncheon was 75¢ and tea at the rectory cost 40¢. There were tables with aprons, fancy articles, candy, flowers, treasures, grabs, food, ice cream, and cake.
  • The fair on October 26, 1962 opened with a bang when a gas explosion blew the oven door off the range in the kitchen. The fair featured The Country Store, The Village Inn, household articles, books and records, jewelry, plants and flowers, hobbies and handicrafts, Christmas table, toys and baby clothes, white elephants, roving vendors, hot dogs and soft drinks, pony rides, and a slave auction. The fair brought in $1,750.
  • In 1972 there was a thanksgiving fair, chaired by Eleanor Mitchell, another extremely active parishioner.
  • In 1982 we raised $4,553 at the Harvest Fair, chaired by Allison Moore. The "Calendar" mentioned plans for a "Pie-­‐us" luncheon, booths, collecting rummage, white elephants, and furniture.
  • The Vestry minutes in 1992 said there would be just two fairs next year. $22,440 was raised in 1992.
  • The 2002 fall Yard Sale raised $14,236.
  • Last year, 2011, we raised $12,735
  • The largest price for a single item has been around $1,500.

Interestingly enough there is little mention of the fair/yard sale in any vestry minutes. Since this was a pretty successful fundraiser, that seems strange. Other sources for this information are the weekly "Calendars" and the Annual Reports of every ten years, when they were Advertising the 1951 FairAdvertising the 1951 Fairavailable, since 1912. The title "fair" is used often and may not always be the event we've come to know as the Yard Sale.

Bill Jones headed the event for many years in the early 1990s. Dick Wallace* took over and Ginny Willcox helped him for two years before heading the event since the late 90s. Steve Este-­‐Smargiassi has helped Ginny for about ten years.

Walter Mucha, without whom we would quite possibly not have a yard sale, has been involved since 1979, when the fair was held later in the late fall and was tied into Christmas. Handicraft items and white elephants were sold. St. Paul's sponsored the Tea family, refugees from Cambodia, and collected items to furnish their apartment. So much was gathered that we had to find a way to get rid of the surplus and so the fair began to sell furniture.

The size of the fair began to grow along with Walter's household moving business. Walter collects stuff all year, stuff that is stored in Charlestown storage units, basements, attics, and the Great Hall. There were two large yard sales, one in the spring and one in October, followed by smaller sales a week later to sell the leftovers, until this got to be too much for everyone. In the mid-­1990s we went to one fair just after Labor Day.

Over the last one hundred years the event has gone from a small handicrafts sale to a "humongous" yard sale. The sale is the social event of the year, an event that does much good for the church as well as for those who get to purchase interesting/necessary items at a low price. It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. Come and join us for the sale set-­‐up and for the Saturday following Labor Day.

—Pat Dunbar, Parish Historian

* Dick Wallace died in 2009. His generous bequest enabled St. Paul's to install a sound system in the sanctuary.

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