The High Prairie community is once again in the thick of preparations for its annual Firehouse Sale.
This popular event began 11 years ago as a simple rummage sale, and over the years has grown into a multi-faceted affair that draws people from around the area.
Among the additions to the rummage sale itself are a plant sale, food booth, silent auction, quilt raffle, live music, and special activities for kids, including the fire truck and game that was so popular last year.
This year's Firehouse Sale is coming right up, on the weekend of May 15 and 16. The official start is 9 a.m. on both days; closing is at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The Food Booth opens an hour early, at 8 a.m., so eager shoppers can enjoy homemade goodies and hot beverages while waiting for the sale to start.
Last year the Firehouse Sale moved to a new location at 783 Centerville Highway, about a mile east of its old home at the firehouse. Signs from both ends of Centerville Highway will direct visitors to the site, about seven miles northeast of Lyle. With a covered hay barn and plenty of parking, the new setting is especially suited for the event and helps give it a "country fair" atmosphere.
The Firehouse Sale is the community's one big fundraiser each year. All the proceeds go directly to the High Prairie Community Council and Volunteer Fire District 14 to support community programs and buy firefighting equipment.
The heart of the event is the huge rummage sale, or as one resident terms it, "our 130-Family Garage Sale." Everything from nuts and bolts to pianos and trailers has found its way into the sale at one time or another.
The Food Booth is another popular draw. Myrin Bentz's bratwurst will get top billing as usual, but this year a new vegetarian dish will share the spotlight. There will be plenty of homemade pies, cinnamon rolls and other baked goods, soft drinks, coffee, and -- new this year -- ice cream.
The Silent Auction Gallery is returning after a successful debut last year. Sale-goers can bid on valuable goods and services for bargain prices. Local firms and individuals have donated a wide range of items, including a DR pull-behind power road grader, a weekend vacation on Birch Bay, guided fishing trips, meals at local restaurants, things for yard or garden, artwork and all kinds of services.
Bidding starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday and closes at 3 o'clock that afternoon. This year bidders will be able to call in bid increases until the auction closes.
Another annual tradition is the Quilt Raffle, a chance to win a beautiful classic quilt crafted by the High Prairie Needlers.
This year the Needlers used a traditional Double Irish Chain pattern to piece the quilt top, leaving lots of room for elaborate custom quilting by High Prairie's own Linda Daughetee. Inspired by its rich shades of green and cream, the Needlers named their creation "High Prairie Spring."
Raffle tickets will be sold at the sale for $2 or 3 tickets for $5. The drawing is set for 2 on Sunday (no need to be present).