GREENFIELD — In one corner, a local artist sold illustrations. At a neighboring booth, a Hancock County mother haggled with a shopper over old toys and board games she’d found in her attic.
About 300 people shuffled through the third-annual Arts and Rummage fundraiser at the Hancock County Fairgrounds Saturday. The event, which combines a community sale with a local talent showcase, raised more than $1,600 for KidsPlay Inc., a longstanding Hancock County children’s theater program.
KidsPlay is owned by Christine Schaefer, who works for the Daily Reporter.
While people shopped for books, movies, toys and homemade gifts, a number of group and independent artists provided entertainment, including Hearts Ablaze Studios, Dance East Ballet and CrazyLake singers. Visitors browsed Greenfield’s biggest bargain sale while tapping their feet along to the music, which ranged from Broadway standards to Johnny Cash covers.
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Every year, the event transforms the 4-H Exhibit Hall into a giant hometown flea market, featuring some 40 booths. The bargain sale featured plenty of products and art pieces from small business owners, antique collectors and hobbyist craft makers.
Chris Sickels, a Greenfield-based freelance illustrator, set up his first booth at the Arts and Rummage sale this year. Sickels’ family has been actively involved in KidsPlay for several years, and he finally took the leap this year to have a booth of his own to show his work to the public, he said.
Sickels’ booth featured posters of his crafted cartoons and drawings, which he submits to magazines, newspapers and children’s books, he said. Working from a small studio at home, Sickels also contracts as an illustrator with local authors.
Arts and Rummage provides a chance to market his work while giving support to an organization he loves, Sickels said. The event is an opportunity for the public to interact with community artists and see what they have to offer, he added.
Another first-year vendor was Whitney Kimberlin, whose business — Whit Wic Candles — crafts a plethora of handmade products, with scents ranging from warm vanilla to Japanese Apple Blossom. Kimberlin creates soy-based candles, soaps and bath salts that are made to accommodate allergies or sensitive skin, she said.
Kimberlin has been in business for about one year, and the Arts and Rummage sale was a great way for her to continue to showcase her products and connect with people in Greenfield, she said. Kimberlin saw a lot of return customers that day who were eager to shop with her.
Other vendors simply hoped to cash in on odds and ends. Onda Moran has participated in the Arts and Rummage with her mother and sister for the past three years, and what the family has offered up for sale has differed every time. The Morans buy and sell storage units and their contents for profit, she said.
Moran bids on units after the owners lose ownership of storage unit’s contents after failing to pay their rental fees; then, they move all the cargo themselves to set up their booth, she said. At Arts and Rummage this year, they offered up paintings, toys, wooden horses, catering pans and more.
The profits the Moran family makes each year are more than enough to cover their annual three-week vacation to Florida, Moran said.
Because it’s an indoor event, Arts and Rummage encourages people to get out of the house even when it’s cold outside, Moran said.
“I think people get the itch to come out, and it’s time for garage sales,” Moran said with a grin. “We make a profit every time. A nice profit.”
Julia Wickard, a Kidsplay board member, cleaned her house over the holidays and gathered up some rummage to set up a table and help support the organization. Wickard said she is grateful to for the community theater program, which grounded her kids and helped them develop character on and off the stage.
The family has always been involved in community theater, Wickard said. She remembers her children, Jordan and Jacob, sitting under the director’s table at rehearsals, watching and giggling at the actors as they ran their lines. Both ended up becoming involved in acting later on; KidsPlay really shaped her daughter into the young lady she is today, Wickard said. Jacob, who has always been outgoing, has been able to come out of his shell even more since taking part in the program, she added.
“This an opportunity to get rid of some things from home that we cleaned out during Christmas and at the same time support a great organization that gives back exponentially in this community,” Wickard said.