Editor’s Update 7/14/15: Tickets are SOLD OUT! Here is the 2015 Saturday Price list.
Have you been hesitating to buy your child an American Girl doll? I totally understand, it’s not exactly an impulse buy for most people! If you’re the kind of person who’s willing to put in extra effort to snag an amazing deal, then check out The 28th Annual American Girl Benefit Sale, July 18-19, 2015 in Middleton, Wisconsin.
This annual sale benefits the Madison Children’s Museum and the American Girl’s Fund for Children. The event features dolls and books at deeply discounted prices and has raised over $21 million over the past 27 years. At last year’s sale, My AG Dolls went for $55; with retail prices currently at $115, I would say that’s quite the deal! Actual 2015 prices and purchase limits may vary and are posted on the American Girl Benefit Sale Facebook page prior to the sales event.
The items being sold are overstocks or returned merchandise, but would-be shoppers should not be concerned about quality. According to volunteer, Diana H, from the AG Benefit Sale Facebook page:
The customers may not know this, but every doll is checked over, redressed, hair fixed, and lovingly prepared and perfected by a volunteer. Not a single doll is sold without going through the hands of a volunteer!
In addition to official AG merchandise, the parking lot is filled with crafters peddling handmade doll clothing and accessories. It’s the perfect way to pass time while waiting for your time slot.
Time slot? What does that mean?
If you’re already planning your road trip, it’s not all that easy. Last year attracted over 7,200 shoppers, who all adhered to a specific protocol in order to attend. Follow these instructions closely if you want to make the trip.
You MUST have a ticket to gain entrance to the sale and tickets are ONLY available through the mail. Download and 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 $8 each for Saturday payable by check or money order and each customer is limited to no more than four tickets. Tickets for the first hour of the Sunday Markdown Sale are $15 each and are limited to only two tickets per request.
Your ticket request MUST be postmarked between May 26, 2015 and July 3, 2015. Earlier requests will not be honored and later requests run the risk of being sold out. Orders are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Payment will be returned to you via SASE if the event sells out. Your ticket order form will outline more detailed instructions.
If you are lucky enough to get tickets, there’s more you should know.
- Children ages 3 and under are not admitted.
- Do not bring strollers, wagons or wheeled luggage.
The aisles are narrow and crowded so these rules are for everyone’s safety. You may; however, wish to bring an older shopping buddy with you to help haul away your purchases.
- Many items have purchase limits
- 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 prevent back-ups, 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 19th.
An extremely limited number of tickets will be sold in advance for the first hour only (8 – 9 am) of Sunday morning. These tickets are sold at a premium, $15 each and are limited to two (2) tickets per request.
Free tickets are available for entry into the Sunday sale from 9 am-12 noon. Free tickets will be distributed on-site beginning at 8 am so you must arrive early if you hope to receive a free ticket. Please keep in mind, camping or overnight waiting in line is discouraged. One ticket will be distributed per person and you must be present to receive a ticket. On Sunday, there are no guarantees of merchandise availability but with great risk comes great reward.
So yes, there are a lot of rules to follow, but serious shoppers in search of serious deals will go the extra mile. Please keep a smile on your face and say “Thank you” to the 300+ volunteers who donate their time and efforts to help you bring home a special new friend. It helps to remember that proceeds go to a wonderful cause!
28th Annual American Girl Benefit Sale
Saturday, July 18, 2015 7am-3pm
* Sunday July 19, 2015 8am-12noon
8830 N. Greenview Drive, Middleton, WI
Looking to stay overnight? Check out the AGBS partner hotels for group rates.
Questions? Email Marianne at mmadar[at]madisonchildrensmuseum[dot]org
Ticket requests by mail postmarked no earlier than May 26, 2015 and no later than July 3, 2015