Furniture, food draw folks to Arthur Mennonite Relief Sale
ARTHUR – Homemade Amish furniture, walking tacos and family fun are just a few of the features offered at the 47th annual Arthur Mennonite Relief Sale.
The event runs Aug. 22-23 at the Otto Center just south of Arthur.
Each year, the Arthur Relief Sale Board organizes the event to benefits the Mennonite Central Committee in Pennsylvania. Last year, the event donated about $74,000 to the committee, a goal organizers hope to beat, sale chairman Steve Miller said.
"We usually don't set a goal, but we like to be up every year," he said.
The money sent to the committee is used for relief work around the U.S., Miller said. Projects typically include natural-disaster relief and supporting families in war-torn regions.
In the last 10 years, MCC has distributed 600,000 school kits for children and 285,000 medical kits.
Miller said 20 percent of the net sales stay local, and the rest is sent to MCC.
"It helps our local churches and we keep a small fund for the board," he said.
Miller said the sale in Arthur is a community event that people plan early in the year to attend.
He said it acts as a community link because everyone can come together for a common goal.
He also said he hopes the sale is an example to the community.
"It's good for us to do something like this," he said. "We like to think we're showing people the attitude of Christ."
Paul Otto, who has been involved with the sale more than 30 years with his wife, Dorothy, feels the same.
"We feel it's a necessary thing to help others out," he said.
Food has always been a big draw at the event. Otto credits his wife with bringing to the sale one of the latest trends: the walking taco, or the Pedro, as they call it. He and Dorothy make more chili every year for the Pedros, but they always seem to run out.
"(Pedros) are a big hit," Miller said.
Still, the auction and the vendors are what most people come for, Miller said.
The auction is host to hundreds of pieces of handcrafted Amish furniture and other items.
"Everything is made locally," Miller said.
This year's sale features a hutch cabinet, dining room sets and living room sets, just to name a few.
"We've got a wide variety of top quality of Amish-made furniture," Miller said.
Quilts are another draw to the auction, he said.
Otto said his wife and her extended family have donated a quilt every year to the sale.
The sale also has plenty of fun for the kids. There will be tractor rides, inflatable games and other games throughout the event.
The kids also have their own auction where they can bid on items with a parent or grandparent.
"Grandparents usually work out better because they keep encouraging them to bid on items," Miller joked.