Monday, April 17, 2023

West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale 2023

 For the first year since 2019, the WCMRS sale felt like old times. Of course it was canceled in 2020. In 2021, it was held online. Last year, it was held outdoors, but only for one day (it usually runs from 4 p.m. on Friday til about 4 p.m. on Saturday). 

For those of us in this area who have Mennonite roots, it feels like a big reunion. It is held on the campus of Fresno Pacific University. There is a wide variety of food available--BBQ ribs, tamales, homemade ice cream, homemade pies, traditional Mennonite ethnic food including zweibach (yeast rolls), verenika (kind of a German ravioli), borscht, fritters (deep fat fried dough rolled in sugar--SO yummy). There is a silent auction, used book shop, country store, a 5K run on Saturday morning, and lots of other things as well.

And quilts. So many quilts. 

There is a pre-priced table which consists mostly of comforters, the majority of which are tied rather than hand- or machine quilted. This is a great option for those who want a nice quilt for a reasonable price and don't want to take the chance that the quilt they want is going to be auctioned for a high price.

This year, 179 quilts were available for live auction.  They are draped over large sawhorses and you have a chance to wander through and look at them, and jot down the numbers of the quilts you are interested in. 
The auction is held in the gym. The quilts, 10 at a time, are layered on a bed. There is another bed on the other side of the partition.

Then one by one, they are held up. Someone gives a brief description. And the auction begins. Once those quilts have been sold, the turntable moves 180 degrees and the next set of ten quilts is ready to go. It's a pretty cool system. 

There are also six quilts that are hung up so that they can be fully seen--three facing the audience and three back to back. It is usually the larger quilts that are hung, lots of times with applique or hand quilting. I donated three quilts this year, and I was honored that Embroidery Flower was hung in the front--a bit unusual as it is not a large quilt. My friend, Dotty, said it was hung because it was an unusual quilt compared to the mostly traditional quilts. Anyway, I was thrilled. (It kind of looks like a midget quilt hanging next to that gorgeous feathered star!)

I donated two other quilts. I totally forgot to take a photo of Rosa when it came up for auction. Nerves, I guess. It sold for $300 and was purchased by a long-time friend, Pam, a super price for a quilt this size.

Embroidery Flower was auctioned a little after noon. There are two auctioneers who alternate shifts but my cousin, Todd, who is amazing, auctioned this one. (I always request him and I have an "in" because we are related.) He started the bid at $5000. He's been doing this for a very long time, and his philosophy is that you set the price that a quilt should go for in everyone's head, then you lower the bid and hopefully work your way back up to that price. 

It was an exciting, and nerve-wracking, few minutes. The quilt ultimately sold for $5,500 (so Todd knows what he's talking about--ha!), the high bid of the entire day. I have no clue who purchased it--it would have been fun to track them down and thank them for their generous donation. 

The third quilt was Firm Foundation, a really fun quilt with names of old traditional hymns. It sold for $675. I was very pleased with that price as well. 

Our North Fresno Church Wednesday morning quilt group had a lot of quilts in the mix. In fact, the quilts from out church accounted for nearly $30,000 of the total. The pre priced table added another approximately $3500. 

Overall, the sale grossed $190,000. Some of the cost of food will be deducted from that, but other than that, things are largely donated so a large amount will be used for Third World Relief through Mennonite Central Committee, an absolutely awesome charitable organization. 

An unexpected bonus this year was that our niece, Elizabeth (my brother's daughter), came down from the Bay Area to spend some time with us. She was at the sale for awhile, and then we had dinner together at Aaron and Christa's house. So much fun. 

It was such a good weekend. Perfect weather, beautiful quilts, great food and fun family fellowship. 

And in a show of hospitality, Gabe made Liz a breakfast sandwich before she got on the road Sunday morning. 


05 08
Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said... #

Thanks for the behind the scenes information on how the auction is held, I find that super fascinating to learn about. And wow! Congratulations on your quilts auctioning off for such wonderful amounts.