On August 11th, 1948, the first Auction and Bazaar was held as a fund-raiser for the Recreation Association of Dennis-East Dennis. It became an annual event with the Association providing various activities including square dancing, ballroom dancing, miniature golf and a family beach picnic. In its first year, the Auction/Bazaar raised $300, the equivalent to about $3,100 today.
The Dennis Union Church took over the event when the Recreation Association dissolved in 1963. By 1990, the Auction & Bazaar was raising $9,500 with a good portion of funds going back into the community through a wide range of outreach programs.
By then, a Pick-Up-Crew had been organized so people donating items could have their wares picked up and stored by the Church until August. This Pick-Up-Crew still gathers every Tuesday morning for coffee and camaraderie. They discuss the week’s pick-up list and then disperse throughout the area.
Most of the donated furniture is stored in 45’ long truck trailers. Smaller items such as dishware, toys and small appliances are stored in the barn behind the Church.
Starting in late June, a “Sorting and Pricing” team works their way through hundreds of boxes every Tuesday morning. The “priced” items are then stored in a separate trailer until the second Saturday of August when the annual Auction/Bazaar is held.
From the earliest years, the live Auction portion of the event was enhanced by the professional skills of Robert C. Eldred, a local Auctioneer and member of Dennis Union Church. Eldred’s great knowledge of antiques and knack for drawing bids drew crowds from all over the Cape and beyond.
Robert C. Eldred Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps setting new records for attendance and funds raised until he passed away in 2016. The Eldred’s company continues to play a crucial role in the event with Robert’s wife, Mary Ann, John Schofield and other volunteers from Eldred’s running the live Auction.