Friday, October 10, 2008

Rummage sale ends after 74-year run


The seven-decade old rummage sale hosted by the Junior League of Santa Barbara each year at Earl Warren Showgrounds will not celebrate another birthday, Junior League officials announced yesterday.
The sale, which has been a mainstay for the past 74 years during the first weekend of November, was discontinued in order to make room for more efficient and lucrative fundraisers, according to Junior League Communication Director Erin Muslera.

Muslera said the rummage sale, while a fun even that everyone looked forward to, began taking up too much time from Junior League members and did not yield the results needed to facilitate the league’s ambitious projects.
“We made a really hard-fought decision to discontinue and some people had some mixed emotions about it,” she said. “It took a lot of energy and a lot of man hours. Every single member needed to be there the entire weekend.”
Over the past few years, the Junior League and its roughly 150 members have turned their energy toward improving youth literacy.
A large part of that effort is a current project aimed at renovating the children’s area of the library — a project that comes on the heals of the renovation of the children’s area at the Eastside Public Library.
Muslera said she wasn’t sure exactly what the financial goal is for the current project, but said the amount of energy required to host the rummage sale and the return was no longer justifiable.
“[The rummage sale] wasn’t going to give us the kind of funds we need,” she said. “We’re kind of going to the next level as a volunteer organization.”
Minus the countless hours required to host the rummage sale, Muslera said the Junior League can now focus on its other two fundraisers: the American Girl Fashion Show scheduled for Nov. 22-23, and an annual Literacy Gala.
The Junior League is an organization of women who promote volunteerism. According to the Junior League’s mission statement, its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
Prior to focusing on youth literacy, Muslera said the Junior League spent several years battling youth violence.
She said the Junior League periodically reassess its priorities, and when it was time to do so a couple years ago, realized several other organizations existed that focused on youth violence. As a result, the Junior League changed directions.
Muslera said those who looked forward to donating their rummage each year still have an outlet that benefits good causes. She said the Junior League looked at various places to donate used items and felt the Assistance Shop, located at 1259 Veronica Springs Rd. aligned most closely with the Junior League mission.
She said anyone interested in donating used items to the Assistance Shop is welcome do so Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
More information about the Junior League and how to become a member is available at


Anonymous said...

The Assistance Shop is also open on Saturdays from 10:00 AM –1:00 PM.

Anonymous said...

So, rather than provide the entire community an opportunity to obtain some necessary clothing at a discount in these difficult financial times, the Junior League in all its wisdom has chosen to help further educate a very select and distinct group of young people in a very important life skill:

The American Girl Fashion Show???

Every group must have its priorities.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it has to do with the number of hours put in by the group being so great compared to the return. There are still lots of thrift shops in the area - some good ones, too!

Anonymous said...

I have been in the Junior League for several years. Please note, what I am saying is my own opinion and is not in any way representative of the League, I simply saw the post mocking the decision for a change and felt called to offer another point of view. I have wanted to get rid of the rummage sale for a long time. People used to look at me like I had two heads when I said I wished we could get rid of the rummage sale so please know it has taken years to come to this point. The amount of hours it took to put together in such a short period of time was ridiculous, the cost of renting the space was substantial, and there were a myriad of other reasons it just wasn't the best use of our time and energy. As for the community service part, I used to argue with people all the time about this. When a sale is for one day, it encourages people to make impulse purchases, rather than go home and think about it and come back the next day like they can with a store. People who don't have a lot of money to spare in the first place should not be encouraged to make lots of impulse purchases. Over the years I saw many people frantically grabbing things including plenty of non-essential items as if they were caught up in the momentum of the sale. Having grown up very poor myself in a town people make fun of when I tell them where I am from I know what I am talking about. Since there are now plenty of thrift stores and garage sales these days, I don't really see how a one day rummage sale is as important from a community service standpoint today as it was seventy years ago when those outlets for used goods did not exist. Although I don't have any children, I happen to think the American Girl book series is a wonderful series showing girls there are a gazillion ways to be American, so I am a bit stunned that anyone would mock letting the girls get together and have fun with a little fashion show when the whole series of books are such a fabulous tool for promoting diversity...especially since we live in a town that is not particularly diverse.