People love a good yard sale - and Saturday morning they came out in record numbers to prove it.
More than 400 people braved the cold and were waiting in line at 7 a.m. when the Junior League of Augusta Inc. opened the doors to its annual Attic Sale. The event, which has been at the Augusta Fairgrounds in past years, was held at the Hippodrome in North Augusta for more space.
The league uses proceeds from the sale to contribute to dozens of community service organizations. In 1999, they gave more than $21,000 in grants to the Girl Scouts, Antioch Food Pantry, the North Augusta Police Athletic League and other groups. This year, they have committed more than $51,000 to the community.
On Saturday, the money was streaming in as customers rushed to the different areas of merchandise.
Inside the Hippodrome, items were divided into categories such as electronics, exercise equipment, furniture, books, linens and toys.
Donna Burnside, public relations chairwoman for the league, said the children's sections are very popular.
"Our toy area is almost gone," she said at 7:15. "Bikes go pretty quick, too. We have $5 bikes."
Sandra Mercier of North Augusta wasn't interested in the bicycles. She had her arms full of baby furniture.
"I am buying baby stuff for my sister," Ms. Mercier said as she loaded a highchair, walker and playpen into her truck. She still had to go back to get the baby bed. "I spent $28 on all this baby stuff."
But the first-timer didn't spend all her time in the baby section. She also bought a pair of custom-made draperies in rich tones of burgundy and green.
An upright piano went for $20; couches went for $5. Nothing was priced higher than $50.
"I love these curtains," Ms. Mercier said. "This is my first year, and I'm very impressed."
Unlike Ms. Mercier, James and Faye Delk of Beech Island are attic sale veterans.
While Mrs. Delk likes to look for baby clothes for her grandchildren, Mr. Delk appreciates the electronics section. Among the items he went home with was a 26-inch television that cost $5.
"I hope it's (a bargain)," Mr. Delk said, knowing that the TV wasn't in working condition, but planning to fix it.
The attic sale has been an annual event for nearly 50 years. Donna Jones, attic sale chairwoman, said she wasn't sure of the exact number of years, just that the event keeps getting bigger.
The league begins collecting donations around May and stores them for the next nine to 10 months.
One unusual donation this year was an embalmed shark in a jar. It was sold by 7:15.
Ms. Burnside said the annual event is something that benefits everyone.
"The main idea is that this is a service," she said. "It's a win-win situation."
Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332.
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The Junior League of Augusta Inc. is an organization of more than 680 active members who volunteer time, talent and money for various projects throughout the community.
The league has committed more than $51,000 for 2000-2001. The Attic Sale is one of the club's main fund-raisers. The "signature" project for the league this year is the Children's Day Shelter for Homeless Children.