By Florence Rankin

TIFTON - Tiftarea Academy's annual rummage sale, locally famous for its size and variety, will move to a new location this year.

The mammoth yard sale will open its doors at 7 a.m. Saturday at the old Wal-Mart, on Virginia Ave., and run through 1 p.m. Volunteers began moving items from storage Saturday and will continue receiving donations until the sale.

"If everybody in the community just does a little bit, this is what happens," event chairman Lila Haynes said, gesturing toward huge stacks of clothes, shoes, pots and pans, furniture, dishes, lamps, pictures, toys and sporting goods.

The volunteers, mostly Tiftarea parents, moved three tractor-trailer loads over the weekend, filling more than half of the former Wal-Mart. They expect to stay at the store every day until Saturday in order to finish sorting and pricing the items.

Tiftarea raised more than $20,000 during last year's sale, which was held at the school. Haynes said this year's proceeds will go to a new ceiling for the gymnasium and tables to furnish the new school library.

"For the economy to be this bad, I really did not anticipate this much merchandise coming in," Haynes said. "But a lot of people have been contributing ever since last year, and we're all doing this for the children. And what better return for your money? We're building a foundation that will have a lot of impact on our kids."

For the first time, organizers will charge a $1 admission fee at the door. The Tifton Kiwanis Club will serve concessions including hamburgers, hot dogs and sausage dogs.

Haynes said different members of the community have been "incredibly generous," beginning with Wal-Mart. "They're letting us have the use of this big building for a week, and they're running the air," she said.

Other contributors include GS Properties and the Gerald Sapp family; David Conger; Bob Owens and Dusty Cottle, who donated the contents of an entire dress shop they own in Omega; Gibbs Patrick Farms; John Stripling; Additions; Athletic Attic; Chuck Hill; Glenn Willis and United Landscaping; and Omega Pharmacy and Tommy and Betty Ann Lindsey.

To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.

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