By Rachel Dunphy
Celebrating its 51st anniversary this year, the Methodist Church’s annual July 4th chicken barbeque and auction will be held this Thursday.
The event, which has been a town staple and a success since its founding, features three major components: the barbeque, the auction, and the white elephant sale.
“We start at nine o’ clock and there’ll be a line of people out the door and down the sidewalk, weather permitting, to get in to go through the white elephant sale,” Julie Broadway, chair of the sale, explained. “Then the barbeque, I believe, starts at about eleven, and then the auction follows.”
The fundraiser, which remained the same for the majority of its history, has grown in recent years. Last year a free bounce castle was added to entertain kids during the auction, and you can expect that again this year.
Thursday’s event will also feature two more changes. For the first time in the sale’s history everyone in the community, not just church members, are encouraged to bring lightly used items for the white elephant sale, and according to Broadway this change has put them on track to see a significant increase in donated items.
The church is also widely encouraging residents and especially local non-profits to come between 2 and 3 pm, after the sale has ended, when they can have their pick of any unsold items for free. They tried this on a much smaller scale with a few veterans groups last year, Broadway said, and they hope many more people and groups will take advantage of the opportunity this year. The giveaway benefits both the non-profits and the church, which can spend less time sorting through unsold donations.
“The proceeds that we raise from this event go back into the missions that the church does,” Broadway said, “so it comes back in the form of the food shelf or some other ways. The real beauty of this is that people donate items, and then we turn around a self them, and then that money turns around and goes back into the community again, so it’s really a pay-it-forward model that just goes on and on.”
In past years the barbeque has turned out between 250 and 300 people (an estimate based on number of plates used). Broadway said they were hoping for about the same this year, though she mentioned she was concerned about some weather forecasts for the Fourth and that the holiday falling on a Thursday might lead more people to take Friday off and travel somewhere for the long weekend.
She encouraged anyone who will be in town Thursday to attend. “It’s a great community event. It’s a lot of fun,” she said, “You get to see all your neighbors that you might not otherwise get to see. It’s a really good program to support. It goes so much back to the community.” She added, “The food’s good, you’ll find something you want that’s not very expensive, and all of the proceeds go back to the community.”