On Oct. 15, the Inova Loudoun Hospital Women’s board kicks off the latest installment of its annual rummage sale, the largest such event in the Mid Atlantic region.
“We have everything from white mice to pink elephants,” said volunteer Jim Roberts.
Roberts’ assessment is about right. Spread over 19 sections of Leesburg’s Morven Park Equestrian Center, the sale has items from furniture to electronics to Christmas decorations to clothing. Premium items like high-end women’s clothing and television sets are also available, along with rare items like an authentic Fender guitar, a Salvador Dali lithograph and Rolex watches.
It took 11 truckloads to transport everything that has been set up for the sale, which will take up more than 50,000 square feet of space at Morven Park.
The sale will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 15 and Oct. 16. Typically hundreds of shoppers take advantage of an “early bird” entrance, allowing customers, for $12 in advance or $15 at the door, to come in one hour early.
This is the 78th instalment of the sale. Last year it raised $259,000 over two days, which was 17 percent more than the year before. Event organizers are hopeful this year will break last year’s fundraising mark. Proceeds go to scholarships for nursing students in Loudoun County.
Volunteers started setting up on the morning of Oct. 10. Approximately 500 volunteers worked all week to set up the two-day sales blitz. Many took off work to volunteer, with some coming from as far as Arizona and the United Kingdom.
“In England you just get news from New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles,” said Demetri Styalanides of Cold Christmas, England who came over this month in part to volunteer at the rummage sale. “The rest of the world hates that depiction of America, whereas this is the real America.”
Like the items at the sales, volunteers are sorted into the event’s respective departments based on specialty and interest. Several retired librarians lead the books department, while a group of former coaches head up sporting goods.
The customers are nearly as well traveled. Thousands attend annually, one year backing up traffic outside the park on RT 15 all the way past the Maryland state line. That was in part why the event moved to its current Saturday-Sunday format from its previous Friday-Saturday set up.
About 80 percent of the donated items are sold, with the rest going to other charitable organizations in the area. While the sale itself is a focal point, collections run all year round. Event organizers coordinate with area home owner’s associations to help organize collection events.
The event is believed to be one of the longest running in the county, with the first sale raising $150 in 1926.