Preparations nearing end for April 11-12 relief sale

During a 24-hour period starting mid-afternoon, April 11, about 22,000 people are expected to enter the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson to participate in the 35th annual Mennonite Relief Sale.

Their arrival will climax another year of efforts by many volunteers concerned with spreading light in a hurting world.

Central to making the event a reality are the sale’s 24-member board, about 40 committees and contact people representing 70 Kansas churches.

Their work helps to organize the efforts and contributions of hundreds of seamstresses and artisans-as well as myriad volunteers working in food preparation and services on the grounds.

“It’s their way of “letting their light shine that others might see His glory,” as the 2003 sale theme states.

All sale proceeds will go to Mennonite Central Committee to be used for hunger relief and community development worldwide.

Opening activities

At 2 p.m. the quilt display opens at the 4-H Exhibit Hall-a new location this year-and quilt auction reserved seats go on sale. Food service begins at 4 p.m. All other buildings will be open for purchases at 5 p.m.

Pre-priced items

In Sunflower Building South-another new location-priced items include a variety of hand-made Kansas handicrafts. Plants are sold in the same building.

Visitors to the sale can also watch while a volunteer weaves rugs on a floor loom. International crafts from Ten Thousand Villages will be selling at the Eisenhower Building.

In the 4-H Exhibit Building sale guests can watch while a potter and a glass blower demonstrate their arts, and can purchase their wares.

Also being made are New Year’s cookies, apple fritters and apple butter.

Schedule/location changes

The Friday night auction and Saturday general auction will be in a new building, Sunflower Building North, located just north of last year’s auction site, Sunflower Building South. Friday’s auction begins at 6 p.m. to allow a full evening for the auction of many more items this year than previously.

An additional change this year is the site and schedule for Friday night entertainment, which is to begin at 7 p.m. in the 4-H Encampment Auditorium. Performing will be Wedel Brothers and Praise IV vocal groups.

Saturday highlights

Saturday morning breakfast of pancakes and sausage begins at 6 a.m. in the Pride of Kansas Building, and all sale buildings open at 7 a.m. German buffet and chicken barbecue begin at 10:30 a.m.

The Run for Relief starts in Rice Park-off the fairgrounds-at 8 a.m. For the kids, a hay-bale maze will be located north of the Pride of Kansas Building. Barrel and stagecoach rides also will be offered.

Two separate auctions begin at 8:45 a.m. The auction of more than 250 hand-made quilts and related items is back this year in the Meadowlark Building at the southwest edge of the fairgrounds.

The hobby and general auction takes place at Sunflower Building North. Among the items to be auctioned is a large collection of Barbie dolls in unopened boxes.

Parking and admission are free. However, overnight campers need to pay a fairgrounds fee. The public is welcome to attend.

Additional information about the sale is available on the Web:

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