Named for the state of the thawing ground in late winter and early spring, Mud Sales are a Lancaster County original, referring to annual auctions/sales at a number of local fire companies. It’s no wonder they’re called a “mud sale,” since so many Amish in attendance are barefoot, squishing through the mud on a warm spring day as thousands of shoppers trod through to bid on the local treasures. These huge events draw as many as 20,000 people to bid on hand-stitched quilts, locally made crafts, livestock, furniture, produce, baked goods, antiques and much more.
Grab your wallet and come to bid on Amish quilts with intricate stitching and saturated jewel tones, or try to get the best price for the hand-made dining room table you’ve been eyeing. These products only go for a few hundred dollars, which is modest compared to price tags in high-end shops. What draws a shopper to a mud sale are the wholesale prices with no sales tax and no buyer’s premium. The Amish groups that make the products donate them to the fire company’s fundraiser, and any merchandise that isn’t sold is donated to a consignment shop.
As you sample Dutch eats like Shoofly pie and whoopee pies, you can talk with local Amish farmers and craftsmen during the unique mud sales season, on Saturdays through early April. Six or seven auctions are conducted simultaneously each day as Amish and “English” mill together over the many items up for auction.
Not only can you go home with some of the most unique finds, but you’ll be able to get the sense of community and tradition that PA Dutch Country has, and the beauty of Lancaster County. Before leaving with your goods, explore the area where you’ll find lush farmland, farm-to-table cuisine and breweries.