The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 18, 2010

Amish sale draws 6,000

WASHINGTONVILLE — An estimated 6,000 Amish and those they call “the English” from across the commonwealth flocked Saturday to an auction to benefit four one-room Amish schools in the Valley.

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Pennsylvanians from Lawrence County to the west and Susquehanna County to the northeast began arriving early in Washingtonville to purchase everything from wringer washers to miniature horses to horseradish.

The Beaver Run School Amish Auction will benefit Beaver Run and three other schools, which do not receive state funds.

Auction organizer Jacob Hershberger would not estimate how much the auction would raise or other sources of funding for the schools. He did say 95 students, ages 6 through 15, attend Beaver Run, near Washingtonville; Muddy Run and Sunny Slope, both near Turbotville; and North Ridge, near Muncy.

Students attend class 180 days a year and leave after eighth grade.

Puppy stole her heart

Carrie Burkland held a white with black puppy in a blanket as she stood in line with her niece for barbecued chicken.

“I was kind of looking. All the puppies were so cute. I had to have one,” the Bloomsburg woman said of the 10-week-old dog Pug-Jack Russell-Blue Heeler she bought and named Freckles.

Her niece, Kaitlin Yorks, of Benton, sold a miniature horse at a consignment auction.

Thousands of items would be sold by the numerous Amish auctioneers calling out simultaneously in tents, buildings and in open grassy areas.

In addition to puppies and miniature horses, other animals were for sale, including goats, chickens, a llama, sheep, rabbits, pigeons, turkeys and horses, according to Mickey Powers, who lives three hours and 15 minutes away in Birchardville, Susquehanna County.

“We come just to have a good time and we do,” he said of himself and his wife, Mary.

“She buys quilt tops and does them all winter and donates one back each year,” Powers said as he purchased salsa and horseradish from the Maple Shade Country Store stand operated by Eli Hostetler and his wife, Hannah, of Strawberry Ridge, near Washingtonville.  

At last year’s auction, Powers bought two goats “to use to clear the pasture.”

Hostetler said his stand usually sells a lot of the family’s cheese, honey and canned goods at the auctions. They also have a store between Washingtonville and Jerseytown.

“We do well unless it is pouring down rain, but a lot of people come anyway,” Hostetler said. “The food is great if you can get to it. By the time I am done here they will be sold out.”

Food lines, at times, were long. Barbecued chicken and homemade ice cream are the biggest food draws at the auction, Hostetler said.

Powers, the Susquehanna County resident, said it’s the variety of items that attracts visitors who travel by car, buggy or bike. Items for sale included wringer washers, railroad ties, a spa, an oil tank, ladders, tools, tires, a cement mixer, a honey extractor, a large boxing game, saddles and halters, wagons, tables, sewing machines, furniture, building materials and toys.

Deanna Coho, of Bloomsburg, carried a box brimming with a stuffed bear, a wooden door harp, yarn and other items she said she got inexpensively.

A family was seen carrying chickens in a pen to their vehicle, while a man and woman were balancing a wooden chair and a table en route to their car.

A man driving a golf cart shuttled visitors to their cars because he is “good friends with the Amish.” The man, who refused to provide his surname, said 3,000 auction numbers had been distributed by 12:30 p.m. with the sale continuing a few more hours.

Lawrence County residents Amy Hostetler, of Volant, and her sister, Sally Byler, of New Wilmington, got a ride to the sale because they live three and a half hours away. This was their first time the Amish women attended the auction, in its 31st year. “My husband has been here before,” Amy Hostetler said.

So far, she had purchased a wooden shaving cabinet. She and her sister also bought some food.

Skip Winters, of the Watsontown area, was a successful bidder on lumber for his house. He goes to the auctions every year.

“I love to go to sales. I’m looking for everything,” Winters said. “You never know what you will find at a sale.”

Selena Rodriguez, of Trout Run, came to the sale last year for the first time.

Saturday she bought a 4-year-old miniature horse named Harry as a pet for her grandchildren.

“Last year, I got two goats as pets,” said Rodriguez, who was with her son, Robert Griffin, also of Trout Run.

“They are pretty reasonably priced,” Rodriguez said. “It’s for a good cause and they have good stuff.”

Send comments to Karen Blackledge

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