Gifting your daughter her very first American Girl Doll seems to have become a rite of passage for young girls these days, but one that comes with a hefty price tag. If you have balked at the expense, but are willing to put in some extra legwork for a great deal, allow me to introduce you to the 27th Annual American Girl Benefit Sale 2014. This annual sale takes place on Saturday, July 19th thru Sunday, July 20th at 8830 N. Greenview Drive in Middleton, Wisconsin and proceeds benefit the Madison Children’s Museum and the American Girl’s Fund for Children.
The sale features dolls and books at deeply discounted prices. Buzz on the interwebs report prices as low as $35 for a doll (actual prices may vary!) With retail prices at $110, I would say that’s a steal! The items being sold are overstocks or returned merchandise. In addition to American Girl merchandise, the parking lot is filled with crafters peddling handmade doll clothing and accessories. The sale is also very popular with collectors and re-sellers.
If you’re ready to hit the road for savings, it’s not as easy as getting in your car and driving off. The Benefit Sale attracts over 5,000 shoppers each year, and you must follow a careful protocol if you want to be let in the door.
You MUST have a ticket to gain entrance to the sale and tickets are ONLY available through the mail. Fill out the Ticket Order Form, and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with payment to:
American Girl Benefit Sale Tickets
Madison Children’s Museum
P.O. Box 620185
Middleton, WI 53562-0185
Tickets are $7 each payable by check or money order and each customer may purchase no more than four tickets. The ticket request window MUST BE POSTMARKED between May 27 and July 5, 2014. Orders are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and if tickets sell out your payment will be returned to you. If you don’t follow the rules, prepare to be left out in the cold. Download this PDF file to read the full detail of ticketing procedures.
Once you’ve got the tickets in hand, there’s more you need to know. Children 3 and under are not admitted to the sale and neither are strollers (including wagons or wheeled luggage.) The aisles are narrow and crowded so leave the little ones at home but bring extra grown-ups with you. You’ll want the added muscle to haul away your purchases and power shoppers should note there are buying limits per person. Extra people means you can buy and carry more. There’s a charge for shopping bags but you can bring your own. The tickets have assigned entrance times and are issued in 15-minute intervals. Be prepared for possible back-ups due to overcrowding. To help out, be considerate and keep moving. Each person may enter the sale only once, regardless of how many tickets you have purchased. Merchandise is sold “as is” with no refunds or exchanges. Bring cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express to pay as no checks or travelers checks will be accepted. Note that outside vendors in the craft fair may have different payment policies. To be safe, cash is the universal currency!
* For the biggest and best deals, further markdowns are made for the sale on Sunday, July 20th. Tickets for Sunday are FREE but are available only onsite starting at 6 am.
That’s a lot of rules, but serious deals call for serious planning. Remember to keep a smile on your face for the 300+ volunteers who donate their time to make this sale happen so you can bring a special doll home. It helps to know your dollars will go to a charitable cause.
American Girl Benefit Sale
Saturday, July 19th 7am-3pm
* Sunday July 20, 2014 8am-12noon
8830 N. Greenview Drive, Middleton, WI
Questions? Email Marianne at mmadar[at]madisonchildrensmuseum[dot]org
Ticket requests by mail postmarked no earlier than May 27, 2014 and no later than July 5, 2014