Cypress Harvest Sale Reaches 57th Year
This year marks the 57th annual Cypress Harvest Sale and Supper to be held on Saturday, Oct. 3.
"The community is invited to join us for supper -- fried chicken with rice and gravy or country ham with grits and red-eye gravy," says a spokesman.
Both choices include rolls, candied yams, seasoned green beans and a dessert -- with generous portions of everything. Plates are $7 for adults and $3 for children and will be served from 4 to 7 p.m.
There will be a silent auction starting at 4 p.m. and an old-time auction starting at 7 p.m., featuring quilts, cakes, sweet potatoes and other items.
The Cypress Women of the Church held its first Harvest Sale and Supper at Cypress Presbyterian Church in November 1953.
The ladies saw a need for many improvements in the church building, including indoor bathrooms and more room for Sunday School classes and fellowship suppers. At that first Cypress Harvest Sale, supper was served from one small classroom with tables arranged in the other three classrooms. After the supper, an auction was held in the churchyard. Items offered for sale were late-harvested fruits and vegetables, jellies, jams, pickles, cakes, crafts and two quilts. The proceeds went into a building fund.
Partly from the funds raised by these sales, a bigger educational wing was added to the church in 1957. The new wing included a kitchen and fellowship hall in the basement where suppers were held. (The old wing was moved down the road and became the home of one of the church members.) After the new addition, the auctions were conducted between the basement door and the road. Some of the men from the church were the auctioneers in the early years of the sale.
One year a hurricane came through the area the week of the Harvest Sale, and there was no power at the church.
A wood cookstove was moved to the church from the home of a church family who lived nearby so that the ladies could heat the barbecue and green beans (part of the menu at that time). The stove was set up in the basement with the stove pipe out the window.
Not too much changed about the supper and sale over the next 20 years. At some point during this time, the menu changed from barbecue to country ham and grits or turkey and dressing with all the trimmings. Also the sales started being handled by a professional auctioneer who volunteered his services for the night in exchange for a free supper. As word spread about the great food and desserts, more and more people came to the suppers and many wanted to take their supper home. A take-out shack built in the churchyard became part of the custom for the day.
In 1977 a new fellowship hall was built across the road from the church. Harvest Sales and Suppers have been held there ever since.
In 1998, an addition to the fellowship hall was built that included new bathrooms, a new storage room, an expanded dining area and a basement. These additions helped relieve some of the crowded conditions at special events like the Harvest Sale.
The Harvest Sale and Supper in 1998, Cypress Presbyterian Church's 175th anniversary, was the most successful ever. The Women of the Church pieced and quilted a special anniversary quilt with Scottish plaids and pictures showing Cypress' ministers, the changes in the church building, and all aspects of church life. The quilt sold for $2,300 and was donated back to the church for all to enjoy. It hangs in the church vestibule.
Another item that brought a good price was a cabinet, which had one of the old church windows as its door. The cabinet was also donated back to the church by the person who bought it.
Throughout the years, the youth of the church have been active in Harvest Sales and Suppers. Several men in the church family remember building furniture for the sale when they were young (in the 1950s and early 1960s).
Several years the youth sold homemade ice-cream if it was a hot day or hot chocolate if it was a cold day. Sometimes the youth would have special meetings just to work on crafts for the sale -- bars of soap and wash clothes made to look like puppies, string or wire art pictures, Christmas ornaments.
Even today some of the youth contribute craft items and all are involved as food servers, wait staff, clean-up crew, or take-out helpers.
A recent pastor of the church called the Harvest Sale and Supper the most unifying event at a church that he has ever seen.
"Just as it was when it started 56 years ago, the Harvest Sale is a time to share the 'fruits' of our labor, a time when the people of the church work together for a common good, provide a good meal and share a lot of good fellowship," says the spokesman.
The church is located at 1220 Cypress Church Road seven miles east of Vass.
For information, call 245-4731.
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