White elephant sale draws in hundreds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kristi Deboard, of Pedro, sorted through stacks of clothing under the huge open-air tents Saturday, intent on finding as many bargains as she could.

“I read about this in the newspaper,” she said. “I think this was a good idea.”

Not far away under another tent, Wilma Hamilton, of Coal Grove, came in search of a box fan but couldn’t help admiring some other items in the first-ever White Elephant sale to benefit the Ro-Na Theater restoration.

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Never mind the heat or the heavy rains that punctuated the early morning hours Saturday, Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship said he was pleased with the turnout.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot of support from the community, a lot of donations and “a steady stream of people all day,” he said. “They keep coming.”

He noted that clothing and housewares seemed to be the more popular items.

And he had a point.

“We’re looking for glassware,” Linda Meadows said as she and her daughter, Melinda Russell, made their way through the rows of tables. The two Ironton ladies said they love rummage sales, so the Ro-Na White Elephant was just their ticket.

“We’d hit everyone of them if we could,” Meadows said.

The goal of the event was to raise $10,000 to get the necessary permits and architectural drawings for a new roof for the building. The city took possession of the old theatre in February.

If organizers didn’t want anyone to leave empty-handed, seven-year-old Sabella Malone and her mom, Rhonda, of Ironton, were glad to oblige them. Sabella found a hot pink spider that was nearly as big as she was and Mom found a teddy bear.

“I’ve been collecting bears for her since she was born and this is one she doesn’t have, “ Rhonda Malone explained. “I came down last night to make my house payment and saw them over here setting up and decided to come back today. This is great. I’m waiting on my husband to get home so I can get some more money and come back.”

Alice Clark, of Tri-State Artistic Friends, watched the patrons milling about and she said, too, was pleased with the White Elephant’s popularity.

“This looks like a good turnout,” she said. “This is bringing a lot of people together. There’s a lot of good community spirit.”