Hundreds of ‘treasure seekers’ flock to Apple Hill Playhouse rummage sale


19 minutes ago

Jennifer Traugott and her 9-year-old daughter, Lucy, made sure they were out the door of their Cooksburg home at 6:30 a.m. Saturday 85 miles away to the Apple Hill Playhouse in Delmont on a shopping mission.

The Traugotts are part of the Clairon County Homeschoolers drama organization. And — coronavirus pandemic or not — the troupe plans a 2021 spring performance of the classic, “Little Women,” and is in dire need of period costumes.

Jennifer Traugott hoped the Apple Hill Playhouse’s rummage sale, which she spotted in a Facebook post, would fit the bill.

And it did.

The Traugotts, with their arms full of 15 assorted dresses and various other outfits for the play to be held sometime in May, said the 2-1/2 hour trip was well worth it.

“They said name a price and I did, $20, and they accepted it. After we load these in our vehicle, we’re going back in to shop some more,” Jennifer Traugott said.

Props, costumes, antiques, furniture, tools and other miscellaneous items used in productions at the playhouse over decades were put up for sale beginning Saturday.

The sale continues 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 24-25.

Owner Pat Beyer, 79, announced the closure of the long-running summer theater in July, citing her age and health issues, along with ongoing uncertainties about how theaters will operate as pandemic restrictions continue.

Orchard Performing Arts Company President Mike Crosby, who was assisting the hundreds of treasure seekers who showed up looking for bargains, said people were buying “a little bit of everything including costumes, antiques, furniture, spray paint and tools.”

Old stoves, an antique wooden wheelchair, antique tables and chairs and even a butter churn filled outbuildings up to the rafters on the grounds surrounding the playhouse.

“People started showing up at about 9:15 a.m. for the sale that didn’t begin until 10 a.m.,” Crosby said. “I was surprised and they’re enthusiastic about the sale.”

“We’re trying to sell all the things we’ve accumulated over the years,” said Crosby. “And people can name their own price.”

“No reasonable offer will be refused,” he added.

Orchard Performing Arts Co. is the theater’s resident theater group.

Jim Louis of North Huntingdon, a military memorabilia buff, was wearing a protective breathing mask as he and his wife, Rita, carried two bins filled with over 50 military hats from multiple eras back to his car.

Despite the mask, passersby could tell he was grinning ear-to-ear after his offer of $20 was accepted for both bins.

“We found them way back in a corner in the back,” Louis said of his find.

Memorabilia collectors, Phil and Gladys Saxton of the Wendover section of Hempfield, had already made a few trips in and out of the buildings where the theater props, many covered in dust, were stored. They had bought chairs and spotlights and were trying to find room in their vehicle to fit an old “Apple Hill Playhouse” sign.

The couple said they hoped to mount the piece of Westmoreland County history in their basement or garage.

Sales are by cash only, and buyers must move and haul their purchases away.

The property at 275 Manor Road is listed for sale at $349,000 with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

The listing describes the property as “A Pre-Civil War barn which has been extensively renovated and has functioned as a summer theatrical venue since at least the 1950s on a 2.798-acre level lot. … The main structure is 6,751 sq. ft. Includes a basement box office, lounge, bathrooms, shop and storage areas. An upper-level 120 seat+ auditorium with a balcony seating area and a stage with wings and above limited upper-fly space, dressing rooms and costume shop.”

The playhouse has a large covered patio and a gas HVAC system. The grounds also include outbuildings.

Orchard Performing Arts Company is still looking for a new permanent home.

The company will present “A Taffeta Christmas,” a 1950s musical revue, from Nov. 19-22 at The Lamplighter Restaurant in Delmont.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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