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St. James Auction: Going... Going... Gone

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The St. James Country Auction started just as expected yesterday, with scores of people dashing up the driveway the minute the gates opened at 10 a.m.

The immediate goal was the White Elephant table, where shoppers were welcome to stuff shopping bags to the limit, all for the price of $8.

"This is such a wonderful community event," said Barbara Rue, of Croton Falls. "You see lots of people you know. And everything is wonderfully priced!"

David Vogt, of New Paltz, said he comes down to visit his in-laws in North Salem and has been taking in the Country Auction for at least 15 years. He said he particularly enjoys the auction bidding and "usually picks something up." This year he got a Navajo medicine chart in a glass-front display case for $16.

Other buyers came from Brewster, Ridgefield, Bedford, Chappaqua and farther. Nancy Sarafian, of Somers said, "I found a lamp so far, but I'm not finished yet. I love auctions. I love tag sales too."

As the auction action went on, the refreshment stands thrived. With Tim Purdy and Ken Lippman at the grill, hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage and pepper sandwiches and turkeyburgers sold like hotcakes.

The Country Kitchen table -- groaning with home baked cookies, cakes and fresh fruit pies -- provided desserts and snacks while the supply lasted.

Susan Koch, one of the fair's organizers, said, "This is the first year we haven't used a professional auctioneer. Bill Thayer and Bill Reilly took over the job and I think they did even better than the pro. They got the numbers up."

A few items did not make the "reserve" price at auction, so they will be offered on Craigslist and eBay.

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