Offbeat Artifacts made its triumphant entry into 2023 on May 6, raising roughly $2,500 for the Sea Cliff Village Library in a single day. The event saw roughly 200 people from the village and outlying communities perusing, chatting and buying artifacts around the village green.
Sea Cliff resident and retired firefighter Mike Lennon started the event in 2013. Since then, Offbeat Artifacts has become a staple of Sea Cliff’s cultural life. Lennon explained that the whole thing started while he was helping to clean out old estates, and would come across interesting and old or strange items left over from estate sales.
He held an impromptu garage sale with many of the items on the village green, and decided that rather than pocketing the money for himself, he would donate the funds to the village library. In the last decade Offbeat Artifacts has grown to a multi-person operation, with donations from Sea Cliff residents making up many of the items on sale.
At the first Offbeat Artifacts Lennon and his team of volunteers, who help transport many of the items from the previous owners’ houses to the green, began setting up shop as early as 7:30 a.m. Lennon said they didn’t leave until 6 p.m., while hundreds of residents wandered around looking for “offbeat artifacts” to take home with them.
“It’s a labor of love, that’s what everybody feels,” Lennon said. “No one complains about the long hours or when it gets hot or anything like that because there’s a sort of magic in the air that everybody feeds off of.”
Although Offbeat Artifacts used to be held every Saturday morning, as it continued to grow over the years it became difficult to organize from a logistical standpoint week after week. While nowadays it is only held once every few months, it gives the Offbeat Artifacts volunteers a chance to plan and bring a larger number and a wider range of items.
Lennon said that at this event roughly half of the items were ones he had donated from former estates he had helped clean out, while the rest were donated by friends, neighbors and fellow Sea Cliff residents.
While there were many appealing items on display, from clothing and books to kitchenware and lamps, Lennon’s favorite item, which he ended up purchasing, was a nine feet long welder’s table on wheels, which he described as “industrial chic.”
“That what makes it an offbeat artifact; you never see an item like that anywhere, a nine-foot long, 300-pound welder’s table,” Lennon added. “That’s what I would call beyond cool.”
Lennon added that the event was a huge success, and that he was looking forward to more Offbeat Artifacts events this year.