Now in its 40th year, the Iowa Mennonite Relief Sale is organized annually by over 20 Mennonite and other Anabaptist churches in Iowa. Volunteers work year-round planning for the auctions, farmers market, entertainment, children’s activities, meals, and food specialties.

Chairing this year’s Relief Sale are Rebecca Beach Miller and Quinlan Miller.

The Relief Sale is a means of raising funds to support Mennonite Central Committee, now in its 99th year of operation, publicity chair Erin Renner pointed out. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a nonprofit charitable organization that works in more than 60 countries in the areas of relief, development, and peace. From February through November each year, 44 relief sales will be held in 21 US states and five Canadian provinces.

Held every year at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City, the Relief Sale hosts a variety of events for all ages. On Friday, beginning around 3 p.m., you can watch the Tractorcade (a parade of tractors) make their way onto the grounds driving in from Frytown.

Food booths, a large flower and bedding plant sale, the farmers market, the quilter’s corner and book sales also begin at 3 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. the children’s activities take off.

Evening meal, auctions

 “Don’t miss the delicious marinated turkey breast or smoked pork loin dinner complete with sides, starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday,” stated Renner.

Then at 6:30 p.m. the live auction begins! Nearly 80 quilts, handcrafted furniture, artwork, gift baskets, meals, a Hustler lawn mower, gift cards and many other items will begin to be auctioned off. 

“If live auctions aren’t your thing,” Renner noted, “we have an online auction too!”

Items are already being posted and more will be added throughout the month of May, so check the online auction site frequently to see what is available! Bidding will open on May 24 at 12:00 p.m. and will close on May 31 at 10:00 p.m.

View the online auction at

Saturday, June 1

On Saturday morning beginning at 7 a.m. is the all-you-can eat pancake, mush, and sausage breakfast.

Or join us at 8 a.m. for a 5K Trail Run or 1-mile walk before you enjoy breakfast. The 5K Trail Run begins at the fairgrounds and continues through the woods and hills of neighboring Ryerson’s Woods Park. The 1-mile fun and casual walk will take place at the fairgrounds with mostly flat surfaces and suitable for strollers and all ages.

The live auction begins where it left off the night before; the parade of classic cars makes it way to the grounds; the food booths are open for business and at 9:30 a.m. the children’s activities start up again. Children can enjoy barrel train rides, a corn box, scavenger hunts, crafts, story times and more.

If you love to shop, we have you covered with a booth from Ten Thousand Villages, fresh local meat from a nearby butcher, flowers and bedding plants, a used book sale, a craft sale, and homemade baked good including pies, cinnamon rolls, cookies and breads. Don’t miss out on the authentic tacos and chicken fajitas, homemade apple fritters, donuts, pie and ice cream! You won’t leave hungry, that’s for sure! 


All throughout the weekend enjoy live music under the big tent or even showcase your talents at the first ever Relief Sale Open Mic on Saturday beginning at 10:45 a.m.

To learn more about the Iowa Mennonite Relief Sale and all that there is to offer, visit the website at

The Iowa Mennonite Relief Sale is a member of the Kalona Chamber of Commerce. You can also check them out at Kalona’s booth at the Iowa State Fair!