BANGS — Jessie Austin knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
After living within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for 45 years with her husband, the Bangs native jumped at the chance to buy back her parents’ house and childhood home when it went up for sale seven years ago.
“I really liked the people here in Bangs,” said Austin, who completed some renovations and inside painting after buying the home and moving back to her tiny hometown. “It was a chance to come back.”
Since then, Austin, along with several other volunteers from the First United Methodist Church (304 First St.), will contribute to the traditional citywide garage sale, starting Thursday, as part of the 22nd annual Bangs Mayfest, with its main festivities beginning Saturday.
The garage sale has helped kick off Bangs’ largest event of the year — often times bringing in natives from out of town — and allows the hundreds of residents and tourists to comb through more than a thousand different items at a “very reasonable” price, said volunteer and church choir director Nancy Lowry.
Furniture, clothing and books, and antiques, tools and home décor, among other items, are on the for sale menu. In previous years, Austin and Lowry said some of their standout items have included antique cameras and books and hundreds of styled picture frames, though it “varies from year to year.”
The two added that most of the items are donated within Brown County, surrounding areas and even larger populations like Dallas-Fort Worth. A plant sale will also be presented starting Thursday. An addition to this year’s three-day sale is a bake sale, which will go from Friday to Saturday, prepared by church volunteers.
Other than Mayfest, which is traditionally celebrated the first weekend in May, the church and its volunteers regularly render other services throughout the calendar year. The volunteers help prepare a soup supper to the town’s residents on the final Thursday of each month, and allow youth basketball programs to use its gymnasium for practices.
“We’re a very welcoming community here,” said Lowry, a former elementary teacher at Brownwood Independent School District, and likes to label herself as “still a farm girl” from Santa Anna.