The Oneonta-based Catskill Choral Society hosted its 41st annual Grand & Glorious Garage Sale on Saturday in Oneonta, bringing vendors, bakers, bargain hunters and a band to Main Street.
Organizers said the event is the CCS’s largest annual fundraiser.
“We usually bring in between $3,000 and $4,000 from vendor fees, plus whatever we make at our table, and last year that was about $800,” Kathy Tobiassen, head of the planning committee for Grand & Glorious, said. “We use that for operating expenses, youth programming, salaries for our director or accompanists and paying orchestras when we have them.”
Tobiassen said the event draws “hundreds.”
“This has actually been a good year,” she said. “It’s hard to pin a number on (attendees), but we have 80 vendors.”
“We get a lot of positive feedback on the day of the event from vendors who have been coming for years,” Tobiassen continued, “and people out cruising the street.”
Planning, past CCS president and member Sue Beams said, begins a year in advance.
“This is my baby and I’ve been involved right from the beginning,” she said. “We plan the whole thing and get all the vendor signups. We’ll start planning (next year’s) after today.”
“All of our members are involved,” Beams continued. “There’s a three-person planning committee, but the rest of the organization volunteers here on the day.”
Tobiassen noted that the nonprofit organization includes roughly 70 members, from Cooperstown, Laurens, Morris, Oneonta and more.
The group’s mission, Tobiassen said, is “to bring a variety of high-quality vocal performances to the community and give community members opportunities to sing.” Next year, Beams noted, CCS will celebrate 50 years.
Veteran Grand & Glorious vendors said they enjoy a chance to sell, while boosting downtown business during what has become a fixture event.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, at least 10 years,” Zoe Menge of East Meredith said. “I like to clean out and I like the atmosphere. It’s fun and you get to get rid of things and meet people, so it’s a good feeling.”
“This gathers people together and it definitely helps the economy,” Menge continued. “It’s a nice street for it and it draws people and business. They should have more events like this.”
Menge noted varied customer demographics on Saturday.
“It’s a mixed bag, which is nice, because everyone likes something different,” she said. “I’ve seen parents of college kids out and lots of families.”
Corinne Smith said, for her, Grand & Glorious is as much about nostalgia as it is a chance to purge.
“My parents used to own Bresee’s and they would do these sidewalk days,” she said. “My dad, (Marc Bresee), would have ‘Marc’s Junk Table’ and I’d always help with it, so this brings back memories.”
“We’ve been coming to this same (vendor) spot for three years,” Smith continued. “I know if I pay for the spot, it motivates me to collect stuff throughout the year and we accumulate a lot of things with children.”
As an Oneonta native, Smith said, she appreciates what Grand & Glorious does for the community.
“It’s a great day and it’s wonderful to see this many people on Main Street,” she said. “We normally never see this many people on Main Street. There’s been pretty steady traffic and it looks well attended this year. Plus, it’s a beautiful day.”
To learn more about CCS or become a member, visit catskillchoralsociety.com or find “Catskill Choral Society” on Facebook.