A sure sign of spring: Muddy boots in Penryn

By on March 22, 2017

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Twelve years ago, members of the Amish community surrounding Penryn approached members of the all-volunteer Penryn Fire Department. Their idea was to hold a fundraiser to benefit both the firefighters and the students in the local Amish school system. What they further had in mind, according to Tom Walsh, the fireman who’s been coordinating the event since its beginning, was a mud sale.

Their model was the mud sales that have been going on successfully for decades in Gordonville and other sites in the southern part of the county.

This year, the Penryn folks got their mud. Lots and lots of mud. Maybe the most mud they’ve ever had, according to Walsh, who stopped to talk for a little bit on Saturday morning.

Weather was a challenge this year, he said. A lot of preparation goes into the annual event. Usually, a crew of about two dozen volunteers starts getting ready on Tuesday, when the tent vendor delivers the tents for the indoor auctions. But Tuesday of last week, Mother Nature dumped nearly a foot of snow on the field behind the fire hall.

The consignors who usually start delivering their wares on Wednesday were asked to hold off. The volunteers began clearing the snow Wednesday afternoon, and the tents went up Thursday afternoon, which is when the consignors were able to start setting up.

“We compressed what is usually three days of work into a day-and-a-half,” said Walsh.

It paid off. The weather may have cut 25-percent from the number of registered bidders — 1,700 in a normal year — but Walsh said he and his fellow firefighters were pleased with the event. While some bidders may have stayed away, the 250 auction volunteers were out in full force.

Walsh said planning for next year’s event will begin in a few weeks when the mud sale committee gets together for an evaluation meeting.

“We’ll talk about what went well,” he said, “what didn’t go so well, what we could have done differently.”

Some things you can decide to do differently and some things you can only hope take a different course. Like the weather. But whether it’s a snowstorm or a fire storm, firefighters are accustomed to the unexpected, and they proved that by successfully pulling off another mud sale in Penryn.

Dick Wanner is a staff writer and photographer. He can be reached at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com.

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