An auction of the contents of Alburtis Park on Oct. 26 advanced the direction of the local music venue and its former operator.
Greg Somers, of Somers Auctioneering of Upper Saucon Township, said the three-hour afternoon sale was well attended, with spirited bidding. The sale was on behalf of Jack Stull, the Alburtis businessman who operated the park for four seasons before its abrupt closure on Sept. 13.
The well-known country music venue has operated since 1925 and is owned by the Alburtis Fire Company. The park was known for providing free entertainment on weekends during warmer months.
Operators in recent years have struggled to keep the tradition alive, prompting Stull to implement an admission charge in 2012 for the first time ever. Despite decreased attendance, Stull said the gate proceeds allowed him to meet the bills. He announced plans to hold a 2013 season.
However, a subsequent meeting between Stull and fire company officials led to heated debate regarding overdue rent payments and Stull's accusations that some on the board were telling him how to run the park. Stull closed the park and the fire company filed a Civil Complaint with the magistrate for past-due rent. Fire company officials have since announced that the park with re-open in 2013 but have not said how that will occur.
Auctioneer Somers declined to disclose gross receipts generated by the sale, but he generalized that Stull will use the proceeds to satisfy debts and move on with his life.
Those gathered at the sale were a mix of serious bidders and the curious, Somers said. One woman said she "just had to have the windmill" as a memento, he said. However, aside from the approximate 5-foot windmill and a pot-bellied stove, few items were true nostalgic pieces from the park's history because they only were from the past four years in which Stull operated the park.
Instead, most was food equipment -- such as coolers, hot dog cookers and popcorn makers -- sheds, picnic tables, bingo gear and benches. The majority of those bidding were caterers or prospective entrepreneurs looking to start their own food businesses, Somers said.