Any other time, it may have seemed odd that someone would take time to examine an old drum in a box with sheet music on a sunny Saturday.
But at the St. Peter Barn Sale fundraiser at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, the drum and a variety of other merchandise including books, clothing, electronics, antiques and furniture were available at rock-bottom prices. Organizers said crowds began gathering outside the gates about 6:30 a.m. for the 8 a.m. opening.
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Whatever wasn't grabbed Saturday will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Barn sale co-chair Jeff Schmidt said while the early birds likely scooped up the best offerings, there will be plenty of choice at the finale.
"The bargains are really happening big time (Sunday)," Schmidt said during a brief break in the furniture area.
An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 visitors are projected for the sale, with proceeds going to help the Geneva church pay down building debt and to local charities.
James Kloese of Montgomery, who was among the throngs of Saturday's shoppers, wound up pausing to check out the old drum with the sheet music before perusing the electronics area.
Kloese didn't attend the sale with a drum in mind.
"I was looking for something that was not here -- a standup mirror. Got here a little late," said Kloese, who laughed when he recalled nabbing new jewelry cleaner for $2 last year.
Bargain hunters could have found an oak television cabinet for $40 or a brown leather sofa for $40. Fans of retro electronics only needed $1 to buy typewriters such as the IBM Selectric II or Smith-Corona Spell Right Dictionary Mercury XD 4600.
Volunteer Cliff Burns, who headed security for the sale, said the merchandise was collected over the summer and stored in semitrailers. Volunteers began moving the goods to the fairgrounds for setup last Wednesday.
All donated items are inspected and volunteers attempt to recycle whatever is deemed unworthy of sale. Several charitable organizations are invited to the venue to claim unsold goods.
"If you look at a lot of the stuff," said Burns, "without a place like this, it would go into the garbage can. It helps out the community because they get good stuff at a reasonable price and it helps out the church."