Summer weather is starting to heat up, but Fox Chapel Presbyterian Harvest Fair leaders are already thinking about the crisp autumn days.
This week the groups began their annual fundraiser, scheduled for September 9-10, and organizers hope to boost much-loved sales to pre-pandemic levels.
“While we have had to provide accommodations due to the pandemic in the past two years, we are aligning to be more like a traditional fair,” said Director Gwen Zaleski. “We will go back to our previous layout using more rooms in the church so that items are more easily distributed and displayed.”
Donations are accepted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at the church hall entrance off Springhouse Lane. Items must be new or lightly used.
All of the traditional retail divisions will be back this year, Zaleski said, including furniture, crystal/china, clothing, linens, jewelry, books, toys, sports, art, garden, and accessories.
“We’re hoping for bigger discounts on baked goods, and snacks should be available on both days,” Zaleski said.
The Harvest Fair is a hugely successful fundraiser, bringing in countless dollars that have been distributed to community nonprofits and those around the world.
In 2021, the event raised $75,000 that was split among 32 area groups such as the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Sharpsburg, Hunger Backpacks, Fox Family Cares, Light of Life Rescue Mission, Circles/Roots of Faith, Hosanna House and Aspinwall Meals on Wheels.
Things that were not sold were donated to local charities so that everything found a home.
“It means a lot for Harvest Fair volunteers to see the money we’ve raised return to the community,” said volunteer Carol Huff, of O’Hara. “Since we started this event in 1954, many charities have benefited over the years.”
Even the epidemic could not completely wipe out the effort.
Zaleski said a modified event hosted in 2020 brought in more than $55,000.
This year, organizers hope to present a variety of treasures and are looking for furniture, antiques, home décor, jewelry, apparel, sports team collectibles, holiday decorations, luggage, lamps, toys, paperbacks and shoes.
Huff said shoppers with a keen eye will find plenty to love.
“Vintage clothes are the hottest trend right now,” she said.
Some items will not be accepted. They include encyclopedias, textbooks, VHS or cassette tapes, computers, old-fashioned tube TVs, large exercise equipment, skates, bed pillows, car seats, and mismatched cribs.
Organizers also need people to volunteer their trucks or larger SUVs for fundraising.
Hof said manpower will be provided.
“The church is always very grateful for all the support from the community,” she said. “Support from the community is key to our success. People may be surprised to learn that many of the volunteers are not members of the church.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can call 412-576-8898.