More than the bargains, hidden treasures, and mountains of toys and clothing to be found at the Prince of Peace Catholic Church Rummage Sale, the sale also displays a strong sense of community spirit.
"It's the community involvement and participation that makes our sale successful. The community comes together on so many different levels," said Prince of Peace School Principal Bonnie Brown, who oversees one of the largest sales in northwestern Lake County.
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At routes 83 and 132 in Lake Villa, the Prince of Peace Rummage Sale runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 5-6, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 7.
Kids, teen, and adult clothing, games, toys, antiques, jewelry, vintage items, and collectibles fill eight classrooms. Housewares, electronics, linens, dishes, furniture, and dining and bedroom sets fill a gymnasium.
Bikes, lawn mowers, large appliances, sporting goods, tools, and sometimes cars, boats and other vehicles find themselves under a tent city sprawled out over several acres of school grounds.
Brown said the community rallies to organize and set up the Prince of Peace Rummage Sale so the community itself can benefit from what it has to offer.
The sale fills the needs for people of all ages in all stages of their life, whether going away to college, furnishing an apartment, buying a new home, starting a family, keeping up with children's clothes, or just bargain hunting or seeking rare treasures.
The enormity of the rummage sale doesn't happen by itself. It takes a community of volunteers.
For six months, from January to June, volunteers pick up donations from throughout the area. School and parish families plan the event months in advance. Sorting, organizing and pricing begin a couple of weeks before the sale.
Boy Scouts pitch the tents, Girls Scouts assist with baby-sitting and keeping rooms orderly, and local high school students from Lakes, Carmel, and Grayslake North help load, unload and set up the thousands of items that fill the school grounds.
Local county cadets and police assist with security and directing traffic. Local retailers and businesses donate everything from tape, shopping carts and hangers to storage units to hold items before the sale. Local restaurants donate food and beverages to feed the volunteers.
Following the sale, leftover items are donated to Goodwill and other charities, such as women's and children's organizations or animal shelters.
The rummage sale has been a fixture in Lake Villa for 17 years, drawing shoppers from across Lake County, Cook County, southern Wisconsin, and eastern McHenry County. Prince of Peace Church is at 135 S. Milwaukee Ave., Lake Villa.
"We are a destination for many people," Brown noted. "We know of families from out of state who purposely visit their families here when our sale is going on. People know our space, our location and our times."
Donations are being accepted through June 3. For more information, call (847) 356-6111, ext. 509, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.