‘Mudslinging’ redefined Colloquialism takes on new meaning in Penryn

By on March 20, 2013

By: LAURIE KNOWLES CALLANAN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

There was plenty of mud for Saturday’s Mud Sale … as well as snow, sleet and freezing rain.

Fortunately, part of it was indoors.

Still, it was shoulder-to-shoulder in the Penryn Fire Hall March 16, and the garb en vogue, whether you were inside or out, was foul-weather gear and boots as folks gathered to bid on auction items that included crafts, farm items, antiques, furniture, office supplies, plants, quilts, sheds, hay and straw, animal supplies, carriages, buggies, tack and wagons.

Even so, it was clear that food was the star of this small town fire company fund-raiser. Penryn’s own recipe for chicken corn soup was a highlight, made with tender chicken, rivels and sweet corn. Hot and steamy, it was the perfect dish to chase away the chill of the day.

People lined up outside the specially-built food shed to order soup, hamburgers, hot dogs, subs, sausage sandwiches, pork and chicken barbecue. There were also food wagons featuring apple dumplings, French fries and doughnuts.

But, before we go any further, what in the Lancaster County world is a “mud sale?”

For those who live in the big city (downtown Lititz), a mud sale is a traditional PA Dutch auction to benefit a fire company or other local organization, and it’s held in the spring, when winter’s thaw makes the trekking a bit sloppy.

Sponsored by the Penryn Fire Company No. 1 and Limerick Parochial Schools, this particular mud sale is the main fund-raiser for the village’s volunteer firefighters.

According to Fire Chief Shannon Martin, Saturday’s crowd reached about 3,000. Proceeds from the sale will not be finalized for several weeks, he said, but the combination of donations and consigned sales should put the Penryn Fire Company in good stead. The other benefactor is the Limerock Parochial School system, which includes one-room schoolhouses throughout the area. Like the fire company, the schools receive funds used for supplies, maintenance and other needs.

“This is a big day for the Penryn Fire Company and the Parochial Schools,” Martin said. “And even with the snowy weather, we got a good crowd.”

Auctioneers from throughout the county were on hand, including a few rookies perfecting the rambling language of the trade. That rapid-fire sound of the auctioneer’s voice is intended to create excitement and move the sale along.

The freezing drizzle mixed with large snowflakes and sleet did not deter those at the outside auction, where big items like an auto-turn forecart, John Deere 8300 Grain Drill-12 ft., 856 International Tractor, 5209 New Idea Disc Mower, White Horse 2-Bottom Plow, 1300 Gallon Manure Spreader and an International 8 ft. Grain Drill were sold to the highest bidders.

There were also animals such as ponies and pigs sold at auction, as well as a stall calf hutch, chicken coop, quail pens, sheds, playhouses, swing sets, lawn furniture and large martin houses.

Despite the big equipment outside, the indoor sale was much warmer, and many bidders scooped spoonfuls of chicken corn soup as they checked out items that included antiques and collectibles such as jeweled stain glass windows, a carved round oak Griffin table, an 1820s-era wooden water pump, a Mobile flying horse, a Victorian marble top pier mirror, a massive five-foot floor model coffee mill and decorated cobalt blue stoneware crocks and jugs.

There was also furniture, bird houses, crafts and many colorful quilts, in patterns that included maple leaf, sunshine and shadow, Jacob’s ladder, crazy quilt, broken star and nine patch. There were beautiful appliquéd quilts as well as traditional patched quilts in many color schemes. Most quilts sold for $150 or so, with a few bringing as much as $500 or $600.

“The quilts are always very popular,” said Martin, explaining that some of the items for auction are consigned, meaning that proceeds are split between the consignor and the fundraising for the fire company and schools. A few items were donated outright for the auction.

“We appreciate all those who donated items for the Mud Sale,” he said. “It is a tremendous help in raising funds.”

This was the eighth year for the Penryn Mud Sale, and even though Mother Nature provided what was advertised — and more — for the event, the big crowd provided another successful year for mud in the small village north of Lititz. More MUD SALE, page A13

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