A Kansas tradition will continue this weekend, although weather forecasters predict it may be a bit soggy at times.
That’s not a problem, say the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale coordinators.
“We welcome the rain,” said Becky Blough, the sale’s publicity chairman.
Held at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, the Mennonite Relief Sale has the feel of a festival and benefits thousands of people around the world with proceeds from the sale of food, quilts, plants, crafts and antique vehicles.
The annual sale draws crowds from across the Midwest. The events are held indoors at buildings across the fairgrounds.
“I like to volunteer for it because I believe in the work of the MCC,” said Jerry Toews of Goessel, who helps find the antique tractors and vehicles for the annual sale. “It is such an efficiently run humanitarian organization. There are very few paid people. For every $1 a person spends, 94 cents goes to our programs in 60 different countries.”
The Mennonite Central Committee works in partnership with agencies around the globe and has a history of addressing natural disasters and issues relating to food security. In past years, the Kansas sale has generated between $400,000 and $500,000.
The festival and sale are organized annually by about 70 Kansas Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish congregations. The two-day sale, in its 47th year, is all about agrarian German-Russian heritage.
The “Feeding of the Multitude” is a German buffet that typically serves between 3,000 and 4,000 people, said Richard and Leanne Klassen of Wichita.
“My favorite is the New Year’s cookies,” Leanne Klassen said. “It is something that it is the only time of the year we get them. It is like a doughnut with raisins that is deep-fried and rolled in sugar.”
They are good, Richard Klassen says. His favorite, though, is the bohne beroggi, a warm pastry with a sweet bean filling.
“None of this stuff is diet food,” he said.
Because rain is predicted for the sale and because the German buffet often attracts crowds that are a city block or two long, Klassen said, the Cottonwood Court on the fairgrounds will be the site for the buffet. The food tables are set up for the crowds to move quickly, he said.
Events at Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale
Auctions featured this weekend at the Kansas Mennonite Relief sale include:
▪ A quilt auction, featuring more than 200 handcrafted quilts and quilt-related items. Viewing of the quilts begins at 4 p.m. Friday, which coincides with when the reserved seats for the quilt auction go on sale. The sale begins at 8:45 a.m. Saturday in the Meadowlark Building.
▪ A general auction in the Sunflower Building North starts at 6 p.m. Friday and includes tractors, antiques, handcrafted furniture and decorative items. It begins again at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday. Items include a 1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser with 58,000 miles on it as well as a 1950 John Deere Model M tractor. Items to be auctioned at specific times are posted Friday at 1:30 p.m.
▪ A silent auction is at 5 p.m. Friday in the Sunflower Building North and will continue from 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. Saturday.
▪ A children’s interest auction will take place in the Pride of Kansas building. Children are encouraged to bid on items such as games and toys. They must be accompanied by an adult in order to register and bid. The auction begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.
▪ A surplus auction of items that have not sold will be in the Sunflower Building South beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on the relief sale, go to http://kansas.mccsale.org.