September 28, 2020

After 83 Continuous Years, Old Lyme Church’s ‘White Elephant Sale’ is Cancelled

There will be no crowds anxiously awaiting the first strike of 9 a.m. this year for the ‘White Elephant Sale’ to start. The sale has been cancelled for the first time after 83 continuous years.

OLD LYME — “World War II didn’t stop us … but COVID-19 did”

That was Bob Davis’ s comment on the first cancellation ever of the White Elephant Sale, which has been hosted continuously by the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme for the past 83 years, and was scheduled this year for July 10 and 11.

Davis, who has been chairing the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme’s White Elephant Sale for some 20 years, said, “After 83 straight years, we had to cancel the sale,” explaining, “Given that we would be unloading the barn for inside set up June 20, the July date didn’t make sense.”

Asked if postponement rather than cancellation was considered, Davis responded, “We even looked at late August, but New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts were such hot spots, social distancing for crowds was an unknown, and the need to get to a Phase-3 in order to have the fair, even August seemed a stretch.”

So this year, there will be no excited shoppers anxiously waiting around the taped-off front lawn at the church for the first strike of the bell at 9 a.m. to start their frenetic buying. Moreover, the previous three weeks of meticulously-organized planning for the sale when the residents of Lyme and Old Lyme traditionally clear out their closets, basements, and more, and drop off all manner of items at the church for sorting and subsequent selling, will not happen.

But the real losers will be the vast number of charitable organizations both locally, across the country and even internationally, which receive donations from the church’s Ladies’ Benevolent Society, sourced from the significant proceeds of the White Elephant Sale.

Davis said, “We appreciate the support over the years by all that donated and worked the fair. [We’re] looking forward to seeing everyone in 2021 and making it a record sale.”

Asked whether “Elephants in Winter” would happen in December, Davis replied, “Not sure about that, since a lot of our stuff [for “Elephants in Winter”] came in during July, But the sewing group is hard at work.” Noting, “It’s not my call,” he recommended people should check the church website to see if the winter sale will be held.

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