From the yard of my closest Old Order Amish friend, I sipped a cup of coffee as I watched sunlight peek over the mountains and fill the valley. Along the creek banks of a nearby pasture, bands of mist rose like dancing trees and then disappeared into nothingness six or so feet from the ground. I’d never seen mist do such a jig. Sunlight sparkled off the dewy grass. The creek had overflowed its usual bounds because of abundant spring rains and ran wildly through the meadow. The steady clop of horses’ hoofs against the asphalt softened as the rigs pulled onto the gravel driveway.
It was a day I’d looked forward to for a year. The annual Amish school sale. It’s a bustling auction with at least four auctioneers selling various goods at different stations, two makeshift kitchens set up on the property, and several commercial-size grills filled with chicken.
The sales from this auction support Amish schools in the surrounding community. So on that beautiful spring day, many districts of Amish people attended the school sale, along with hundreds of English folk (also known as Englischers or non-Amish). A district has between eighteen to twenty-eight families. When the population grows to around twenty-five families, the Amish church leaders start looking into ways to divide that district—which involves several things, one of which is renovating a current structure or building a new one-room Amish schoolhouse.
On the day of this auction, there were probably a thousand people inside the warehouse-type building owned by an Amish family for the purpose of timber framing. This school sale is held each year on the day before Mother’s Day, which lends itself to a great gift-buying opportunity for Amish and English alike.
Most of my family was there, eating and drinking the homemade goods and bidding on things from hand–sewn, faceless dolls to wall hangings to king-size quilts.
I love these auctions!
When I finally tore myself away from my Amish friends a week later, I brought with me a beautiful Amish quilt for a previous year’s quilt contest. I usually purchase the quilt I give away for my annual quilt contest from this auction. If you haven’t entered the Amish quilt contest yet, I encourage you to do so. Click here for more information and to enter.
After the crowds had gone home, the cleanup began. The sun sank behind the mountains, and about the time dark settled over the land, everything was in order enough for supper to begin. About nine o’clock that night, amid soft conversations and bursts of laughter, my husband, youngest son, and I sat at the familiar old oak table and shared a meal with a group of very weary and content Amish folk. It was another great year of earning money to pay the schoolteachers from several districts in the area, and they were pleased.
The aromas, sights, and sounds of an Amish school sale are only one piece of the authentic Amish culture captured in my book, The Hope of Refuge.
|37th Annual Amish School Auction/Sale
Amish-made quilts and wall hangings
Wagons of stuff
Some horses, bunnies, and sheep
And there will be lots of GREAT food that can be purchased!
|Saturday, May 12, 2012 (The day before Mother’s Day—great for purchasing gifts!)
From 8:30 a.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m.
Quilt sale begins around 12:30 p.m. (But if you want a seat, arrive early. And bring lawn chairs!)
|In a warehouse-type building and surrounding area
15700 Burnt Mill Road
Newburg, PA 17240
Note: this is not an author book-signing event, but I hope to be there. If I am and you see me, please speak up. I’d LOVE to meet you!
If you would like to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Hope of Refuge, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway. Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)
The deadline for this contest is Friday, May 4, 2012, at noon. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next Monday’s post.