Experiencing Amish Culture with a Visit to the Lancaster County Mud Sales
The snow is finally over, spring is here, the rains have started, and in Lancaster County it’s mud sale season!
What are mud sales you ask? Mud sales are the popular events held on weekends during the spring, February through June, and fall, August through October. You’ll see hundreds of folks attending the sales—Amish, Mennonites, and “English.”
Mud Sales, so called because of the frequent rainy, muddy condition of the ground, are popular and fun auctions that bring together locals and visitors alike to bid and buy items that are up for auction.
Quoting from The Official Mud Sale Guide (available at the Lancaster County Visitor’s Center on Greenfield Rd.), you’ll find items as: “building materials, horses, ponies, tack and feed, antiques, Amish-made furniture, craft items, buggies, carriages, tools, farming equipment and supplies, tractors and engines, groceries and produce, garden items, shrubbery, plants, sheds and gazebos, sporting goods, firewood, housewares, and some of the most amazing Amish quilts one could ever find.”
Some items are under tents or in buildings, and it’s first-come on the seats provided, while other items such as horses, ponies, farm equipment, and garden items will be outside. When you arrive, be sure to find the registration area and register for your number, which allows you to officially bid on items. You will receive a sheet listing the times of the various auctions and their location on the auction grounds.
As there are usually several auctions going on at the same time, you may be hard pressed to decide where to go—to the quilt auction, antique auction, or any of the many other areas—so be sure to study the location and times of the various auctions to be where you want to be at the right time.
Come hungry because there’s plenty of food. Breakfast is served from usually about 7:30am with fresh doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, and coffee made by the Ladies Auxiliary, and lunch includes such popular Lancaster County traditions as chicken corn noodle soup, soft pretzels, barbecue chicken, sausage sandwiches, smoked meats, and delicious desserts as pies, cakes, cookies, and homemade ice cream. You won’t go home hungry!!
Sales start between 8:00-8:30am and be prepared because the auction moves quickly. The auctioneer speaks at a fast pace and is often hard to understand, so listen carefully and watch his “spotters” as they will be pointing to the highest bidder while scanning the area for the next bid.
See something you want? Hold your number high so the spotter can see it, and, if you are the winning bidder, your item will be brought to you.
When you are ready to leave, you’ll take your bidding number to the designated area to pay your bill. Visa and Master Card are the accepted credit cards. If you are the winning bidder on a quilt, you will receive your quilt once you have paid for it.
The mud sale tradition started in the 1960s as a way to help support the local volunteer fire companies. Now, 50 years later, monies from the mud sales have helped build fire houses, purchase equipment, and train First Responders. Your purchase will benefit these worthy causes.
Come to Lancaster County and have a fun day at the auction.
Several mud sales have already occurred, but here’s a partial listing of 2018’s remaining sales in and around Lancaster County:
March 3: Bart Township Auction and Mud Sale, 11 Furnace Road, Quarryville
March 10: Gordonville Spring Mud Sale and Auction, Old Leacock Road, Gordonville
March 17: Penryn Volunteer Fire Company Sale, 1441 North Penryn Road, Manheim
March 17: Airville Volunteer Fire Company Mud Sale, 3576 Delta Road, Airville
March 22: Farmersvill Mud Sale, 74 East Farmersville Road
March 24: Gap Fire Company Sale, 802 Pequea Ave, Gap
April 7: Robert Fulton Sale, 2271 Robert Fulton Hwy, Peach Bottom
April 14: Rawlinsville Sale, 33 Martic Heights Dr, Holtwood
May 5: Firepointville Auction, 1087 Dry Tavern Rd, Denver
May 12: Honey Brook Quilt Sale , 1841 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook
May 19: Weaverland Valley Sale, 210 Lancaster Ave, Terre Hill
June 9: Kinzer Fire Company Mud Sale, 3521 Lincoln Hwy East, Kinzers
June 28-29: Lancaster County Carriage and Antique Auction, 313 Enterprise Drive, Bird-in-Hand
June 23: Refton Fire Company Sale, 99 Church St, Refton
August 11: Gap Relief Auction, 172 South Lime St, Quarryville
August 18: Intercourse Fire Company Auction, 10 N. Hollander Rd, Intercourse
August 25: Bareville Fire Company Auction, 211 E. Main St, Leola
September 15: Gordonville Fall Mud Sale and Auction, Old Leacock Road, Gordonville
October 27: Cochranville Fire Company Mud Sale, 3135 Limestone Rd, Cochranville
Note: Please be respectful of our Amish neighbors as they do not wish to have their picture taken unless they have given you their permission.
Photo at the top of the article used courtesy of DiscoverLancaster.com.
Updated February 23, 2018 with Lancaster County mud sale dates for 2018.