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Lancaster County's Amish Mud Sales
In Lancaster County, the unfreezing of the ground comes with a different kind of thaw: that of Amish communities and surrounding neighborhoods coming together for their annual and legendary “Mud Sales” to benefit local volunteer fire departments. These lively auctions, taking place every Saturday from the end of February through June, may include sales of everything from the more expected Amish offerings—quilts, baked goods, and antiques—to reclaimed barn wood, livestock, and lawn equipment. Not matter what’s on offer, its certain that in addition to great bargains, all attendees will sample a genuine cross-section of Amish life in partaking of the local food and festivities.
Since the 1960s, “Amish Mud Sales” have been a fixture in Lancaster County. With as many as seven or eight auctions staged simultaneously, some sales can draw up to twenty thousand people. In addition to the auctioned goods, local Amish foods—and especially those of the baked variety—are enough to merit the trip. Be forewarned that the array of fresh donuts, Bavarian-style soft pretzels, and homemade pies (including Lancaster region favorite, shoofly pie) may be more dizzying to first timers than the strident hawking of the auctioneers.
Each benefit auction is unique in its own right. But regardless of the setting or weather, these benefit auctions are sure to warm you with the efforts of local communities to support their fire departments, the comradery between the Amish and the “English,” and the promise of some authentic Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup, homemade pies, or fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.
To determine the specific location and start time of an upcoming Mud Sale, please be sure to check for details prior to arriving. And don’t forget to bring multiple forms of payment and wear your boots—they are called “mud sales” for a reason!