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Starr King Rummage Sale Forced to Find New Home

Unitarian Church Officials Say the Annual Event Is Too Disruptive

Starr King’s massive rummage sale is getting the boot.

For decades, the Santa Barbara Unitarian Society hosted Starr King Parent-Child Workshop’s annual event — Crock Pots, wedding dresses, and more were up for grabs — but last weekend’s sale was the last one that will be held on the church’s property. Church officials say the Unitarian Society location on Santa Barbara Street can no longer accommodate Starr King’s fundraiser because the yearly event displaces several activities during the week leading up to the two-day sale.

Starr King Director Yolanda Medina-Garcia said she is disappointed at the church’s decision, and she is still trying to find a new site for next year’s sale. Last year, the event raised $26,500. Proceeds and tuition fees run Starr King, which will continue to hold its parent-child workshop at the Unitarian Society. Starr King operates independently from the church, whose congregation has nearly doubled in the past five years.

“This is firmly not about the relationship between Starr King and the Unitarian Society,” Assistant Minister Julia Hamilton said. She explained the large sale forces several classes — such as spiritual biography, meditation, film, cooking, and others — to rearrange their schedules as Starr King parent volunteers accept and sort hundreds of second-hand goods in the church classrooms and courtyards during the week before the Friday-Saturday sale. The sale is completely cleaned up in time for Sunday service.

Jack Rivas, a longtime volunteer whose two kids attended Starr King over 30 years ago, said last year’s sale was going to be the last event held at the church, but per negotiations between both sides — and some community input — the church allowed Starr King to rent the space for a final rummage sale this year.

“Starr King is appreciative [to the church] for hosting them for so many years,” Medina-Garcia said. “We’ve been able to serve for decades.”

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