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MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale

On a 85 degree, no clouds, no shade kinda day in the thick of the summer, with 15,000 of your closest friends, there’s nowhere you’d rather be than the MacKenzie Childs’ Barn Sale. Holy Checkers!  For Buffalo people, this is Aurora, NY on Cayuga Lake about 2 hours and 20 minutes away. It can be confusing because Buffalonians have East Aurora as a suburb and the Town of Aurora. To repeat, this is Aurora, NY. In the Finger Lakes. Plan your road trip accordingly. It’s not 20 minutes away!!

 

 MacKenzie Childs is located on a 65 acre farm as peaceful and picturesque as any fairy tale. They started selling their unique and whimsical handcrafted ceramics in 1983. It’s pricey. Sticker shock is real. But so is the desire for something unique, a couple treasured objects, the sport of hunting for a bargain and a lasting memory. As crazy as this seems, this is an annual tradition for so many. The vast majority of the crowd was female but there are always the guys that are really into decorating or the helpful husbands who run back and forth to the car with bags, chairs and coolers. It’s crazy because the wait to get in is a couple hours or more. The lines are insanely long. This is in the heat of the summer. So yes, pack water. But yes, also enjoy meeting others in line, discussing the past sales, what you are looking for this year and time passes quickly. Everyone has a story. Everyone traveled here. People will pull out lists and lists of presents they are buying for Christmas, and you realize the joy and excitement people are feeling in that moment, transpires to different holidays and homes across the country.  Soon the paper bracelet of the day is applied to your wrist, the specials of the day are announced, you are given brown paper bags with handles, the music plays and in you are on your way to tent 1, 2, 3 4, and more. It’s impressive the vast amounts of merchandise there is and also the large amount of easily identifiable staff working the sale in the turquoise Tshirts.

This is our first experience and I have a few tips.

Timing is Everything – we decided to go first thing on day 2 of the sale. I have heard that Day 1 is a mob scene but quite frankly, so was day 2. I think the absolute worst time to show up is at 10 or 11 am because you will have your longest wait. Go early and later. I also think that the last day Sunday is a good choice. There are further mark downs and maybe a little less people.

Stamina – you will need it. You will be standing, hunting, talking, and many people coming up to you and admiring something in your shopping cart and saying “where did you find that?” You will need water if it’s hot out (another reason we chose the morning hours). Also, on the topic of shopping carts, don’t grab one until you are in the barn sale- they will take it from you while you are in line. I’d bring a wagon if you want your own caddy.

 

Please watch the video. It will make you feel as though you were there.

 

Goal- People come with a goal or a list and many get all their Christmas gifts at this sale. People go through catalogs and have long plotted out their plan. Also, have a budget. You could really go crazy and blow a lot of money. People tend to over load their shopping carts and thought out the tent sale there are restocking shelves for you to place if you decided not to purchase something you grabbed. There’s a lot of stimulation. It’s easy to over grab, so make a list and stay focused, but also have fun.

There are not that many things that are unique experiences anymore. So many friends do this annually. They make a memory of it. If something asked me right now..what was the best memory for you in the summer of 2017 ? I would hands down say….The Mackenzie Childs Barn Sale. It was because I was with my daughter Caroline. It was because we made a trip out of it. It was because we stayed in Seneca Falls and enjoyed our stay there. We swam, we visited a winery, and we discovered such delicious dining places. The Finger Lakes are God’s fingers on earth. Just taking a couple days to be together to laugh and escape is invaluable. It was a new and exciting experience. It’s easy to criticize and say “look at all those suburban women with money buying more stuff,” but it’s so much better to see the greater vision of this small town with artists who inspire and make you feel like you can create anything by mixing patterns and crazy designs. I can’t help but admire these artists who created this pottery and made this town famous for the black and white checkerboard design.

And just like anything in life, you need to experience it for yourself. Someone can give you a checkerboard MacKenzie Childs piece and you’ll be happy, but it is just so satisfying to wait the two hours to get into the sale and find your own checkerboard piece…now there is a story behind it. It’s just like money, someone can hand you money, but when you earn it yourself it simply means more and is more valued.

Keep making memories.

Sincerely,

Trish