Sewickley Presbyterian Church's Day on the Lawn sale big draw for shoppers, volunteers

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

When it's time for Sewickley Presbyterian Church's annual Day on the Lawn sale, organizers say there always is a line of shoppers waiting to buy and volunteers ready to help.

Tina Thomas of Sewickley, publicity chairman for the annual flea-market/yard-sale event — to be held during Sewickley Harvest Festival on Sept. 7 — said even before the sale begins at 10 a.m., people are standing outside ready to “charge.”

Even last year when it rained heavily, the sale, which has been held every year for more than 25 years, was packed with shoppers and raised more than $30,000, she said.

Each year, money raised goes toward local, national and international organizations' missions.

“It's amazing. Ten to 12 years ago, we were ecstatic if we made $10,000,” Thomas said. “It just keeps growing every year.”

And, it takes more than 200 volunteers to pull off the event.

Although most are members of the church, non-members are welcome to volunteer, said Shelly Garvey, of Leet Township, event chairman and president of the church's Presbyterian Women's Association.

The association plans the event throughout the year. Gretchen Adams is co-chair of the event.

Church members donate most of the items, but some are dropped off by others in the community. Some items, purchased by shoppers a few years before, are returned later for resale.

Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday and Saturday.

During the sale, most items are arranged in categories and organized in separate areas or rooms, with church members designated as chairmen of each category, such as toys, books and DVDs, electronics, jewelry, antiques, collectibles, furniture, lawn and garden, sporting goods and white elephant. Not sold are clothing, mattresses or old televisions (although flat screens with HD are accepted).

Many items are considered upscale antiques and collectibles, including jewelry and sets of china or silverware handed down from generation to generation, Thomas said.

There will be food available including hot dogs, deli items, bakery items, pies and casseroles. A children's activities area will be manned by youth of the church.

Although Garvey suggested shoppers who have a certain item in mind come early to the sale, some like to wait until later in the day and take advantage of sale prices on items that are left.

“But, most of the time, we sell most of the items in the first few hours,” she said.

Any items left over are given to an auction house, which then returns some of the profits to the church for missions, or are donated to various organizations.

The women agreed that one of the best things about the sale is church members interacting with other members who they might otherwise only see on Sunday and with neighbors in the community.

“There's a fellowship with the young and old of different generations who might not interact otherwise, and everyone helps each other. Then we all get to complain how tired we are afterward,” Thomas said.

After the sale is over, volunteers will clear away items in time for church services the next day.

“I just think everyone feels rewarded just to be a part of the process,” Thomas said. “We all go to church the next day and are happy we pulled it off for another year.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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