Mennonite Relief Sale will offer '61 Mercury Comet

Antique vehicles, quilts, plants and food are some of the hundreds of items expected to be sold Friday and Saturday during the 42nd annual Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.

Proceeds from the fundraiser go to the Mennonite Central Committee, a world-relief organization operating in 60 countries.

It is one of the largest sales of its kind in the United States and Canada, and traditionally attracts as many as 22,000 visitors and raises between $300,000 and $500,000, said Jerry Toews, one of the board members of the Mennonite Central Committee.

Among the featured items for sale this year is a 1961 Mercury Comet with only 50,000 miles.

It was donated by a Hillsboro woman whose family wishes to remain anonymous.

The car was kept in a garage the entire time she owned it. It has its original seat covers, dash instruments, jack and spare tire, Toews said.

"It is very rare that one finds a 50-year-old vehicle in this condition with all its original equipment," said Toews, who got the car running after it had sat idle for 15 years.

It needed a new battery, a gas tank cleaning and carburetor overhaul, he said.

"It started right up and was purring like a kitten," he said. "I drove it out and, well, the brakes stuck," he said. "So, I brought it back home, took all the wheels off and rebuilt the brake cylinders. And now, it purrs like a kitten and I can stop it."

The relief sale also will offer a fully restored 1945 John Deere Model H tractor and a 1929 Model A Ford coupe with rumble seat.

For 42 years, more than 70 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish congregations in Kansas have donated their gifts and services for the sale.

Along with baked foods, plants, cheeses, hams and sausages, it offers more than 250 handmade quilts, comforters, wall hangings and all types of crafts.

This year it also will include a children's auction. Children, accompanied by an adult, can bid on items such as games, dolls and toys. Organizers say the auction is meant to teach people that no matter their age, all can play a roll in helping people in need.