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Sep. 24, 2021 | Friday
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5,000 books a big hit at Grace United Festival Market
The Grace United Church book sale at the Festival Market on Saturday had nearly 5,000 books for people to peruse. (Jessica Maxwell/Niagara Now)

A sunny Saturday morning this past weekend helped Grace United Church’s Festival Market raise $2,900 just through its book sale.

A first edition copy of "Tom Sawyer" was one of the prized finds that went to an early buyer.

For the first time in two years, the church hosted its annual market, which featured over 5,000 books, local produce, homemade baked goods, jams, jellies and sauces, along with a mystery sale.

The market raised almost $9,000 that will go toward supporting operations at the church.

Book sale co-chair John Sayers said the response from the community was gratifying.

“There are people we haven’t seen in the flesh for two years and we see them and it’s so lovely, it’s wonderful,” Sayers told The Lake Report during the Saturday sale.

People were especially excited for the huge book sale with some book collectors showing up as early as 7 a.m. to wait outside the church hall doors.

“We’ve been keeping these books for two years in my garage,” said book sale co-chair Marnie Taylor. “It’s a huge amount. We have about 215 boxes, about 5,000 books.”

“People have been giving us more and more books with special interest because they know that we organize and curate the book sale. It’s all organized by topic,” Taylor said.

“They know that we have good quality stuff and that it’s well-organized.”

The first edition of "Tom Sawyer" sold for $200 first thing in the morning, said Sayers.

Volunteers from the church helped to sort large quantities of donations from community members since the onset of the pandemic. This came in the form of more than just books, but also useful household items and décor.

Donations from the community were a big factor in the market’s success, said Chris McQuestion, who was helping to run the mystery tables at the market.

“It was supposed to just be a few tables, but we had so many donations from the community,” McQuestion said.

Sayers said he hopes to see more church festivals resume in Niagara-on-the-Lake as pandemic restrictions lift and it is safe to gather.