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The Mennonite Relief Sale is an annual fund raiser and festival held since 1978 by the Mennonite, Amish, and Brethren in Christ churches of Oklahoma. The proceeds from the event go to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a worldwide relief and service agency. Similar relief sales take place annually in twenty-three states and five Canadian provinces, generating about four million dollars for MCC programs. For two decades the Oklahoma Relief Sale was held in Fairview; in 1998 it was moved to the Chisholm Trail Pavilion in Enid. Typically, about forty-four churches participate.

Held in November, the event includes an auction of everything from artwork to quilts, from antique cars to wooden toys. In addition, there are food booths, crafts produced by Third World artisans, children's activities, and musical entertainment. Auction bidders raise the prices of items so that the money paid rarely reflects the true value of the goods. People at the sales are buying something more tangible; they are reaching out to help their needy neighbors throughout the world. Currently, the record high price paid for an Oklahoma sale quilt is $6,800. A feature quilt made cooperatively by quilters from all the sponsoring churches is a tradition with the Oklahoma sale. Ethnic foods, German, German-Russian, Amish, and American Indian, abound. Old-Order Amish serve homemade ice cream frozen in a large, gasoline-powered freezer. Over two million dollars have been contributed to MCC from the proceeds of the Oklahoma sales.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 28 November 1997. Relief Sale Board, "Oklahoma Mennonite Relief Sale [Pamphlet]", 2001 and Relief Sale Board, "Oklahoma Mennonite Relief Sale 2002 [Brochure]", 2002, Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Marvin E. Kroeker

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