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Posted date: Friday, October 24th, 2014 In: News No Comments

by Virginia Dean, Standard Correspondent

The 50th anniversary and the 100th sale of the renowned Glad Rags Sale will be held at the end of the month and will feature high end clothing, household items, and linens, according to Vice President Carol Radice.

“It’s the best of the best in quality,” said Radice. “Traditionally, loyal customers come from all over New England for a day of fun and bargains with folks often lining up before the sale begins to get the first glimpse at the great deals. Careful scrutiny goes into the types of articles that go into the sale. Everything is in clean, wearable condition, and there is emphasis on the better brands.”

A nonprofit, Glad Rags will be held Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Masonic Temple on 30 Pleasant Street. The event is always held on the fourth Saturday in October and April.

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” said Christa Blanchard who has worked at every sale since 1964. “It’s a fabulous organization. All the people who work here love it. It’s a great group, and everyone gives 150 percent.”

All proceeds benefit community non-profit groups including the Woodstock Food Shelf, Ottauquechee Health Foundation, Lucy MacKenzie Humane Society, Woodstock Job Bank, Zack’s Place, Visiting Nurses and others. To date, the group has awarded more than $3 million in grants to such community groups.

Blanchard recalled the seeds of the event that looked rather different fifty years ago.

“My friend, Liz Conner and her husband, Pete, lived on Rose Hill and had a VW garage in town,” said Blanchard who was also an employee of the couple. “The two of them had lots of parties and friends would come to exchange clothes with each other once or twice a year. Everyone tried on others’ clothing and would eventually walk off with one another’s. There was no money exchanged.”

Eventually, the Conners – both of whom are now deceased – adopted a girl (now Cathy McGee of Norwich) through the Vermont Children’s Aid Society which is no longer in existence. Indebted, the Conners moved the clothing sale to the Masonic Temple and donated the proceeds to the Children’s Aid for many years.

“Now, we vote every year and donate up to six organizations,” Blanchard said.

To Blanchard, these last 50 years have been personally inspiring.

“It has meant a lot of different things through the years,” said Blanchard. “I’ve stuck with the organization because clothing and sewing are very important to me and have always been my cup of tea. Also, it’s a wonderful group of people.”

Rain or shine, attendants line up at the Temple’s doors to benefit the community. Volunteers have put in long and tireless hours the week before the sale. All items are donated and, if not sold, are given to such community groups as LISTEN or SEVCA (Southeastern Vermont Community Action).

On a Saturday, up to 30 people can be found inside busy doing sales, kitchen work, reorganizing, or operating the cash register. Local high school students are hired to pack and move boxes as well as to help organize items.

“This is the first time I’m going to be a point person,” said local resident Loie Havill. “I’m nervous but excited. It’s going to be the biggest and best we’ve had. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to have quite a variety of merchandise which will fill the entire first floor of the Temple.”

Also available is new goods from such local stores as Gillingham’s and the Woodstock Farmer’s market, Havill related. That merchandise will be sold at a reduced rate but maintain high quality.

“So you can come and do your Christmas shopping!” said Havill.

Glad Rags depends heavily on donated items to continue its success. Donations can be dropped off the week preceding the sale at the Temple, Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All donations are tax deductible.

For more information, go to find it on Facebook or call Loie Havill at 457-1054.

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