Blyth Festival used book sale sets $10,000 goal - April 5, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
The annual Blyth Festival book sale is aiming higher this year and, due to the extended theatre season starting earlier, will be held a month earlier than normal.
The 38th annual book sale will be held May 3-6, after traditionally being held at the beginning of June.
Organizer Lisa Harper said the Festival has set an ambitious goal this year, aiming to raise $10,000 through the event.
“Last year we raised $6,200,” she said. “We’re bringing in some new activities to help us hit this aggressive new goal.”
With the increased goal, Harper is looking for as many book donations as possible.
“We’re taking everything and anything except encyclopedias or text books,” she said.
Anyone looking to donate should call the Blyth Festival office, Harper said. Donations of 12 or more boxes of books can be arranged to be picked up or dropped off closer to the date of the sale, while smaller collections can be dropped off whenever possible.
The book sale has become famous not just for its book selection but also for its homemade pies. This year will also feature children’s activities and the Blyth Festival café featuring homemade soup, sandwiches, slices of pie, coffee and tea.
Book signings are also scheduled at the event, Harper said. While not all the authors have been confirmed, Harper said that Rick Hundey, author of the Huron County-based Jack Beer mystery series will be on site. Local cookbook author Dorothy Henderson will be a part of it as will Bonnie Sitter and Teffler Weg, co-authors of two photo books focused on the area, The Beauty and Bounty of Huron County and Agriculture Today: A Portrait of Family Farms in Ontario.
The event will also feature draws for filled, Blyth Festival-branded book bags.
“People can win the bag and it will have a nice selection of books in there,” Harper said. “We’ll also be selling grab bags with assorted books for $15.”
The sale will run 4 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Harper said the hours were extended on Friday to coincide with the Tanner Steffler Foundation’s evening with Michael Landsberg, allowing people attending the fundraiser to take advantage of the event.
The event has become a passion for Harper, who is taking a week’s vacation from her position of Audience Services Manager and Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Blyth Festival leading up to the event to help prepare for it. She said that, with all the donations that come in, it takes significant volunteer hours to get everything separated.
“It’s volunteer-run,” she said. “There’s myself, Ann Webster and Wendy Hutton that have spearheaded the event and others help out with sorting and selling. We couldn’t do it without the volunteers.”
Harper said the event has found success, undoubtedly because of the breadth of the books and the good cause, considering it’s one of the Festival’s biggest annual fundraisers.
“It’s drawn a loyal following because there is something for everyone,” she said. “People think it’s just about the books but, over the years, we’ve found it expand through people giving us donations.”
She said that, in previous years, there have been puzzles, board games, CDs, VHS cassettes, video games and, somewhat recently, 8-track cassettes.
“We had a box of 8-tracks come in and, sure enough, a collector found them and bought them all,” she said.
The sale also features an extensive children’s book section every year.
The breadth of material available has led to some unique shoppers at the event, as Harper explained. She said that representatives from local shelters have come and purchased large numbers of books to keep on site as have buyers from a men’s penitentiary.