When you live in Lancaster County, it’s very easy to take for granted you are living amongst a truly uncommon group of people. You glide by horse and buggies on your way to work with hardly a thought. The Amish gentlemen and his family standing in front of you at the supermarket checkout are just another roadblock on your way out the door and back to your home. It takes something extraordinary to help you recall that you’re lucky to be exposed to people with such a different take on the world on a daily basis. At a Lancaster County mud sale, you can’t help but be reminded.
Mud sales are annual auctions/sales held at a number of local fire companies. The sales attract thousands of locals looking for bargains on anything from Amish quilts and antiques to local produce, buggies and lawn equipment.
March is the start of mud sale season in Lancaster County and this past weekend I took my wife and older son to the Penryn Fire Company near Manheim, PA for their annual sale. Never having been to a sale before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew there would be thousands of items up for auction and there would likely be a heavy Amish presence there. While there were plenty of we “English” in attendance being bused in, we were outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks from the Amish community.
Roaming around the grounds we found there were several auctions going on at once; one for produce, one for livestock, one for large goods like washing machines, lawnmowers and furniture, and one inside the fire station that covered everything else under the sun. We didn’t end up bidding on anything but it was fascinating to watch.
Plenty of food was available for purchase throughout the sale. From sausage sandwiches to Amish baked pies, you definitely weren’t going to walk away hungry. I bought a couple of homemade hot pretzels and some freshly made donuts and we sat down as a family on the grass field to eat. As we loaded up on carbs, we watched as some Amish men tended to an old-fashioned steam-powered ice cream churner which was producing plenty of the frozen goodness which was selling pretty briskly on an unusually warm March afternoon.
While this was my first mud sale, it definitely won’t be my last. Maybe I’ll even return with an eye on bidding on an item or two. I’ll be back, if for nothing else than to help remind me that I’m lucky to live amongst one of the most unique cultures in our nation.