The temperature is dropping and the leaves are falling, and when you are curling up in front of a fire with a cup of hot cocoa, a handmade quilt is the perfect addition.
With that in mind, Elmira District Community Living has more than 100 quilts to choose from at this year’s Charity Quilt Auction and Country Market, and one of the organizers says she can’t wait until Saturday morning for the bidding to begin.
“It is one of the most exciting days we have all year,” said Gail Bartlett. “You just feel so great, you get hundreds of people out and all the donations. We have some amazingly beautiful full-sized quilts. There is plenty of colour. We have a stunning selection this year. I always leave with something really nice.”
All of the quilts are donated by local makers and sewing circles alongside the sale of furniture, farm equipment, baked goods and silent auction items – all proceeds go directly towards the work Elmira District Community Living does with its clients, who are living with intellectual disabilities, and their families.
Last year’s auction was moved to a new venue, from Riverdale Poultry to the Elmira Produce Auction Cooperative building at Reid Woods Drive and Arthur Street North. Bartlett says the move was a step forward for the fundraising event.
“We used to have to split things up between two buildings – the bake table and that kind of thing was in another building, so it made it hard. But, everything is under one roof now and the ladies that are manning the bake table get to be part of the action and are even more a part of everything. It worked out really well,” she said.
The quilt auction and country sale has been of a huge benefit for EDCL, grossing the non-profit group nearly $100,000 last year. One hundred per cent of the proceeds go right back in to the community, making their clients’ lives a bit easier.
“Every penny that we raise goes to support the EDCL. We use it to add to the support that we get from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. It is more for equipment, maintenance for the group homes. Our whole fleet of vans has been purchased with quilt auction dollars,” said Bartlett.
Quilt prices at the noon auction can skyrocket if there is a particularly beautiful piece, or two bidders vying for the same item. Other quilts can be more affordable, however.
“The highest quilt went for just under $2,000, then you have another full-sized one that went for around $400. It is so variable,” said Bartlett. “All the quilts are so different, but you can definitely come away with a bargain. There is no question about that.”
She recommends getting there early to check out the plethora of baked goods, donated by local bakers, the farm equipment and the new and gently used furniture on the auction block, all before the quilts even hit the stage.
“It is just a really great day in the country, even if you just pick up some tarts or something like that. You have to stay away from the maple tarts though. Those are my favourite,” she said with a laugh.
One of the newer traditions during quilt auction season is the brisket dinner the night before. Bartlett says the meal was added to the schedule two years ago, and they are going to keep on serving up brisket until the people stop coming. Plates of brisket are available until there isn’t any left, and it comes with potato salad, beans and a drink. The dinner is on Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m. for $12 at the Elmira Produce Auction Cooperative. Diners will also be given the chance to check out the quilt selection before auction day.
The bidding starts the next morning, Oct. 29, at 8 a.m. with the country market and silent auction. At 9 a.m., the live general auction begins. The new solid wood furniture auction starts at 11 a.m. and the main event, the quilt auction, gets under way at noon.
For more information, visit www.elmiraquiltauction.com or call EDCL at 519-669-3205.