SUMMERS COUNTY W.Va. (Hinton News) – Tradition is the backbone of mountain heritage, and none is more beloved to Summers County than Hendrick’s Barn Sale, which began 25 years ago; the event has become known for incredible treasures found at even better prices. On the day of, it is common to see cars lining the road leading up to the barn and a huge crowd waiting for the gate to open.
The history of the barn sale is a fascinating one. According to Betty Hendrick, around 30 years ago, she and her husband John moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Long Island, New York, and were finally living close enough to enjoy weekends on the farm where John grew up. That farm is in Ballenge, West Virginia, and they soon began attending Oak Grove Methodist Church, where John had attended until his family moved to Pittsburgh.
Betty went on to explain that one morning during services, Pete Tabor was outlining where they wanted the church to be by the year 2000. Besides increasing membership and community service, the thing they wanted most was bathrooms. John was shocked to hear this. He turned to Betty and said, “We can make this happen.”
Knowing there must be water access before there can be bathrooms, John offered to have the well drilled anonymously, Betty explained. While the well drilling was successful, John discovered there were no secrets in Ballenge. Betty noted that is when the church decided to add a fellowship hall, and fundraising began in earnest.
Betty continued the story, stating that a loan was secured for materials, and Gene and Dean Tabor, along with some friends, donated their time. In a few weeks, they had the new addition under a roof.
Oak Grove was holding their “Lords Acres” sales, consisting of jams, jellies and apple butter. At this point, the Hendricks decided to host a barn dance and later a barn sale, thus beginning the long history of the event beloved by so many.
Betty went on to explain that once the addition was completed at Oak Grove, the sanctuary renovated, and the loan paid off, it was time for them to move on to another cause. The Hendricks believed it was payback time for all their blessings, according to Betty.
Around the same time, the Hendricks were wondering what their next project should be, Janet Richmond approached Betty about joining the Advisory Board for The Children’s Home Society in Lewisburg. Being an adoptive parent of two boys, this is a cause close to her heart. Upon realizing that government funding wasn’t enough to completely cover the foster, adoption, and other programs the Children’s Home Society wanted to provide, the suggestion came to hold their own barn sale to help raise the funds.
With tremendous help from other members of the Advisory Council, friends in Charlotte who were downsizing, and local friends and family, the barn was overflowing with donations priced to sell.
An exceptional amount of preparation goes into an event the size of the barn sale. According to Betty, it takes about two weeks to get ready. To begin, ads are created and sent. Flyers are made and posted. The barn and side sheds must be cleared out and cleaned. Additionally, tables must be set up, items cleaned, priced and set out. Finally, all signs go up, and all the food is prepared.
Not only did the barn sale raise an exceptional amount of funds for the Children’s Home Society, it also gave local people a chance to purchase some excellent, gently used furniture, antiques, toys, tools, books, clothing, household items, bedding and jewelry. The addition of breakfast items, hotdogs and barbecue lunch had people coming early and staying to visit after their shopping was done, according to Hendricks.
The first sale was so successful it became a yearly event. Collecting items for the next year begins as soon as one is over.
Betty stated that for the last couple of years, they have partnered with the Ballengee Farm Club and Neighborhood Association to give them much-needed manpower for the event. The Farm Club’s profits are used for their scholarship fund.
For years, Betty has claimed it’s the last one, but the barn has once again been cleaned out, and she’s hoping to set a record amount for 2023.
Don’t miss the Hendricks Barn Sale on Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 9 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on War Ridge Rd. Breakfast and lunch are available on both days.
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