Garage Sales unite friends, families at Bellwood Daze

August 10, 2018

Attending area garage sales during the long summer weekends has become a new routine for Beu Pensick and Becky Kohrs.

It’s a way for them to spend time together, tinker with various odds and ends and find fun gifts for their friends and families.

On Saturday, the duo perused about a handful of garages sales erected in lawns and on sidewalks in the village of Bellwood during the annual Bellwood Daze festival held Aug. 3-5.

“This is our first year doing this, and we really just get whatever catches our eye,” Pensick said, adding they recruited their friend, Ron Erks of Utica, to serve as their driver for the afternoon.

Their first stop of the day was at the home of Helen Macoubrie, a Bellwood resident who has been participating in the garage sale festivities for the better part of a decade. While Macoubrie had an assortment of merchandise available, her primary focus was selling the number of colorful children and adult hand-stitched quilts created by her church group at St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

“We’ve made over 1,000 over the last 10 years,” she said. “We also do baby quilts and they go to Catholic Social Services and Planned Parenthood and organizations like that.”

The more-than-a-dozen quilts available for purchase were in in the $20-$30 price range. Proceeds from the quilts are generally repurposed for more quilting supplies. Typically, she and her quilting group can churn out 70 or more quilts in one session, Macoubrie said.

The garage sale, she said, is just one small component of her Bellwood Daze involvement.

“Yesterday we made pies, and the church does burgers and brats on Sunday,” she said. “I feel like I’m kind of involved in a lot of it in one way or another.”

Heading down the block, another garage sale served as the backdrop for a bit of a family reunion. Traveling all the way from Cleveland, Ohio, Octavia native Rene Cattani made her way into Bellwood with her husband to visit her niece and other extended family.

While in Nebraska, Cattani also attended her nephew’s 58th birthday party in David City and her 60-year high school anniversary in Schuyler.

“All my family still lives here, I’m the only one that moved away,” said Cattani, noting that she’s lived in Cleveland 53 years and originally located there because of her husband’s military occupation.

While at her niece’s house, Cattani was one of many picking through a wide variety of baked goods spread out on a table in the garage. The food was made over a two-day span by Barb Brecka of Octavia in preparation of this year’s Bellwood Daze.

“I cooked all day yesterday and then the day before, too,” Brecka said Saturday. “All of the Kolaches really take a lot of time (to make).”

Having the opportunity to venture back to small-town life is always a treat for Cattani and her husband. There’s the good food, the laughs and a lot of reminiscing.

“I really am still a part of everybody’s life here, and that is just so nice,” she said.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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