If you have a little girl in your life, chances are she’s trying to accumulate a small fortune in American Girl dolls, accessories and clothes. If this sounds like your life, then read on to learn about the American Girl Benefit Sale near Madison, Wisconsin held on July 22-23, 2017. But more importantly, print out your ticket request form and have your envelope ready to mail for the 2017 American Girl Benefit Sale. Tickets must be postmarked starting May 3 to enter the lottery process to gain access to this special event.
What it is
The American Girl Benefit Sale is an annual sale held by the Madison Children’s Museum to raise money for the museum and American Girl’s Fund for Children. The sale raises nearly $1 million dollars each year, and has helped the museum raise over $22 million dollars. It takes 150 volunteers that work all year long to make the event happen, with an additional 150 volunteers helping on site during the sale.
The sale requires a pre-paid ticket, and tickets are distributed through a lottery process. Tickets must be postmarked on with requests postmarked by May 3rd (or later, but those postmarked May 3rd are chosen first). The official form must be completed, and you may request up to four tickets at $8 each for the Saturday sale. Tickets to the Sunday sale (one-hour only) are $20 per person (limited to two). After 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, entrance is free (but you still need a ticket to enter; see ticket information below). Please note that no children under age three are allowed in the sale, so be sure to bring another adult or sitter if you have littles or more people who want to go. Shoppers are only allowed to enter the sale once.
- Saturday, July 22, 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., $8 per person (limit 4 tickets)
- Sunday, July 23, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. $20 per person (limit 2 tickets)
- Sunday, after 9:00 a.m., FREE entry. FREE tickets are handed out on site at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday for entry between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
According to the Benefit Sale website,
“As we receive ticket requests, we sort them into boxes based on the postmark date. When we have received all the ticket requests postmarked by May 3, we begin fulfilling Saturday ticket requests. Volunteers randomly pull ticket requests from the May 3rd box and fill Saturday requests. After completing the May 3 postmarks, we continue with the same process, filling consecutive postmark days, until the tickets sell out. After the Saturday ticket requests are filled, we begin the same process again to fill Sunday ticket requests. Ticket requests for the Sunday Markdown Sale, will be put into another bin, sorted by date, to be pulled randomly until the Sunday tickets are sold out.”
So get your ticket requests in the mail, because anyone has a chance at getting a ticket!
If you bring younger children and an adult to supervise them while you shop, the benefit has food and craft vendors and a play area to keep your loved ones occupied while you shop till you drop.
The first day of the sale requires a paid ticket, and is on Saturday, July 22. You’ll find the most inventory for sale on the first day, so if you’re looking for something specific from last year’s catalogue, then I’d suggest going then.
July 23rd is the second day of the sale, and everything that is left over from the Saturday sale is sold on Sunday. If you want first dibs, tickets sell for $20 for entry from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., and entrance is free after 9:00 a.m. The 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. tickets require a request postmarked May 3rd (or later) as well, but if you’re going for the free ticket you’ll just need to stand in line on Sunday morning. This is the day to get the deepest discounts, but not as much inventory will be available, as many items and dolls will most likely have been sold the day before.
What will you find at the sale?
The sale includes returns and overstocked items. This year’s new additions include WellieWishers dolls and Melody Ellison! Dolls that were returned have been checked over to make sure they are ready to go home to meet your child, but all sales are final, so don’t buy it unless you know you want it! Also included at the sale are doll and girl clothes and accessories, as well as DVDs and books.
When you’re packing for the sale make sure to leave you check book at home. The sale will ONLY accept credit cards and cash, and there’s no guarantee what the vendors will accept if you want to grab a bite to eat.
Where Should I Stay?
The benefit website lists a link for hotels where you can book your room. The best part about staying in the hotel is that you’ll get a shuttle bus ride to and from the sale, so you don’t have to find parking, although the website does say that parking is five minutes away with a shuttle for those that need it.
I know what you’re thinking… Wait — why am I staying at a hotel if I’m trying to save money by buying discounted American Girl merchandise? The answer is this: Madison is also a great town for a gas tank getaway. Here are just a few of the fun things our contributors found to do in Madison:
- Jessica G. tells us about the Henry Vilas Zoo
- Check out our itinerary for a Madison Family Day Trip
- Our friends at Go Valley Kids! share their list of Madison attractions
And if you stay in Madison it counts as a vacation and a discounted shopping trip!
American Girl Benefit Sale
July 22 – 23, 2017
8830 N. Greenview Drive, Middleton, WI 53562
Are you going to the American Girl Benefit Sale? What are you hoping to find?