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Despite pandemic, this year’s Children’s Farm rummage sale better than ever

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The annual rummage sale at The Children’s Farm held in Palos Park last weekend was bigger than ever before this year, with more donated treasures to sell, and more spread out than usual to allow for social distancing. It was also held over three days, from Friday to Sunday, in order to spread out the numbers of shoppers. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

By Dermot Connolly

One sign of things returning to normal, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, was the success of the 19th annual Rummage Sale held at The Children’s Farm at The Center in Palos Park last weekend.

The Rummage Sale raises much-needed funds for the many programs sponsored by The Center at 12700 Southwest Highway.

Development director Mark Walker said Sunday, as the popular event was wrapping up, that it was bigger and better than ever in many ways.

“We had more donations than ever, which is very helpful. Maybe because people had more time to go through their stuff,” said Walker. Also, he noted that it ran from Friday to Sunday this year, rather than just Friday and Saturday, which was done to help limit the crowds.

“We had a great turnout. This is the biggest one by far. Last year, we raised about $28,000. This year, we should be about $32,000, so we are very happy,” he said.

“This is really our first big event since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted somewhat. But as far as we know, we did everything according to the health regulations, including masks, social distancing and spacing,” he said.

“We wanted to make sure we were careful about that and let the general public know that it would mostly be outside and spread out more than usual. We are fortunate that we have the space to do it,” he said.

Walker noted that the number of tables in the main barn were reduced this year, to allow for social distancing. But the number of bargains was not reduced, so more items were placed outside under tents on the grounds of the farm. The usual tents housing furniture and high-end clothing were also spread farther apart.

Volunteers were stationed outside the main barn as well as the tented areas to count the people going in and out, to make sure crowds did not build up.

“We can’t do this without volunteers, and the turnout of the volunteers and the general public was amazing.”

“The one thing we can’t control is the weather, but we were very lucky with that, too,” added Walker. “The temperatures were perfect and not a drop of rain fell.”

Lynn Barker and John Barker, of Chicago Ridge, stopped in on Sunday, with their son, Casey, a recent graduate of Richards High School in Oak Lawn.

“This is our first time here, they have shared interest in antiquing and garage sales,” said Lynn of her husband and son. “We thought this was a fun, good, family outing, and we’re contributing too—I just wish it wasn’t ending at 1,” she said.

Goldie Xirafakis, of Palos Heights, stopped to talk as she loaded all the bargains she got on Sunday into the trunk of her car. While the bargains were good all weekend, many people believe the last few hours are the best, when shoppers can fill bags of all sizes with whatever fits in and get the whole lot for $5.

“I come here every year—always on the last day to get the bargains,” said Xirafakis. “I donate as much as I can, too.”

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