NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem’s annual St. James Country Auction is right around the corner, as you may know from all of the signs dotting the area. Gates open at 10 a.m. sharp Saturday.
St. James Episcopal Church has been having a summer auction since 1958, a time when most members of the parish were summer residents. As the town grew, so did the auction, and today it is a major event, attended by hundreds of bargain-seekers.
“People come from all over,” said organizer Joan Guthrie. “A lot of people plan their visits to the area to coincide with the auction. We get people from Virginia. Even England.”
The auction committee begins to collect items in June and scurries around in the following weeks, assessing, organizing and arranging.
“We used to have the auction in August, but everyone is so exhausted afterwards that we moved it up to July so there’d be time to recuperate,” Guthrie said. For three years she was the sole chairman, but now there is a team.
Auction items vary from a simple King Kone soft ice cream gift certificate to a week at a Breckenridge ski condo. There is jewelry, artwork, furniture and all sorts of collectibles. The "White Elephant" sale comprises items costing less than a dollar. There are plants, books, toys and household items too.
While the adults are browsing around, the kids can play games in the playground. Locals Tim Purdy and Ken Lippmann will be manning the barbecue grills, hawking hot dogs, hamburgers, bacon burgers and lots of homemade dishes.
Nearly 100 of the auction items already are on the St. James website so you can bid online right now.
As usual, the proceeds from the auction will be used for outreach programs. Tax- deductible receipts are available.
It is traditional for eager bidders to gather at 10 a.m. at the foot of the church driveway, primed to dash in and glean bargains before the best disappear.
St. James Episcopal Church is on Titicus Road, near the intersection of June Road in North Salem.