HARPSWELL — The saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and the Orr’s & Bailey Island Fire Department is hoping that’s especially true this weekend.
From 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12, the department will hold its 25th annual yard sale and auction at 1600 Harpswell Islands Road.
Patrons will be able to place bids during a silent auction from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-noon Sunday. Attendees can also enjoy breakfast and a barbecue lunch both days. A live auction will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with a preview and registration starting at 9 a.m.
Doug Warren, an OBIFD board member and head of the department’s Outreach Committee, said the yard sale and auction are a huge part of establishing the station’s operating budget each year.
Warren said last year’s event raised $50,000, with associated expenses totaling around $15,000, for a net total of $35,000.
The most recent total is quite a departure from the $300 raised from the first auction and yard sale in 1993, which board member Christine Donovan-Hall said was the result of the volunteers present “bidding against each other.”
In addition to the money raised from the event, Warren said funds from the department’s annual fundraising campaign and $60,000 given to each of Harpswell’s fire departments by the town each year are “the three financial cornerstones of operation.”
“It’s very important that this be a success and very important that we make as much money as we can,” Warren said. “The auction, the yard sale, the silent auction, and all those things contribute to being able to deliver the services that the department does.”
He added that every Saturday during June and July, Harpswell residents were able to drop items off at the department to be sold in the yard sale, and volunteers also made visits to local homes to pick items up.
Two weeks before the fundraiser, the station’s garage, and a shed and storage unit out back were filled to the brim with furniture, art, and other various home goods ready to be sold.
Warren said “an amazing amount of work” goes into putting the event together, and also includes enlisting volunteers the week before to move all of the items in to tents in the station’s parking lot.
And, though the event is a quarter of a century old, Warren said for the first time this year the department is making more of a push to advertise auction items on its Facebook page ahead of time.
Donovan-Hall said a key item being auctioned off this year is a signed copy of “The Life of Captain Marvel,” a comic book written by Margaret Stohl and set in Harpswell.
Some pieces featured in Facebook posts include an African statue, a model sailboat, and an antique recipe box.
Warren said items the department did not accept included large furniture that might be especially hard to move, old electronics, and upholstered chairs.
Volunteers also did not accept books due to the Orr’s Island Library’s book sale, which took place Aug. 1-4.
Ultimately, though he said the yard sale and auction is a “huge amount of work,” Warren added it is also a “fun, social event” for the community, with some commonplace items, such as homemade pies, typically getting bids as high as $1,000.
“It’s a 25-year tradition, it’s a huge part of our fundraising, but it’s also a big community event,” he said.
Doug Warren of the Orr’s and Bailey Island Fire Department with items to be sold at the annual Yard Sale and Auction on Aug. 11 and 12.