White Elephant Sale
Friday, July 14, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday, July 15, 8 a.m.-noon
Every year, for the past 81 years, on a weekend in early July, the Ladies Benevolent Society (LBS) has held its White Elephant Sale on the grounds of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. This is a huge fund raiser that grows in size every year, allowing the LBS to fund more than 25 nonprofit organizations across our region and around the world.
The White Elephant Sale (WES) is one of the major annual events that appears on the church’s and town’s calendar. While there are other garage and rummage sales held by other organizations throughout the year, few can match the size, color, camaraderie and excitement of this one. Residents and visitors will often plan their summer vacations around it.
Donations are typically collected for two weeks before the sale. Area residents donate antiques, art, books, bikes, canoes, clothing, collectibles, electronics, kayaks, kitchenware, shoes, ski equipment, tools, toys and more. (If you would like to donate items to the WES, please review our Intake List, which explains the items we do and don’t accept; and our Calendar, which explains when you can drop off your items at the church.)
Nearly 200 volunteers sign up to help collect, sort, price, organize and sell the various donated items displayed during the spectacular two-day sale. (If you would like to volunteer, please call the church office at 860-434-8686, select option 5, leave your name and phone number, and we’ll be in touch promptly.)
The sale itself takes place both inside and outside the church, typically covering the entire church grounds. (Click here to see videos showing the size and scope of the event.)
On the Friday morning of the sale, a crowd will gather early outside the ropes surrounding the church, waiting for the clock in the bell tower to strike nine. When it does, the ropes come down and shoppers head for their favorite sale departments in search of hidden treasures. On Saturday morning, the sale continues – and most everything is half off. (For directions to the church, see the map on the bottom of the Home Page.)
Volunteers sell coffee and doughnuts both days (raising additional funds for charity). On Friday, the food court is open for lunch, featuring hot dogs, chili, homemade salads and desserts to help keep shoppers refreshed.
After the sale, Goodwill Industries and other organizations pick up any unsold items and sell them to help raise funds for their own charitable activities.
Mark your calendar and make plans to join us in July at the sale!
- Intake List – A list of the items we do and don’t accept, and how to donate them.
- 2017 WES Calendar – The specific dates we’re collecting, sorting, organizing and pricing items, and setting up the sale.
- WES History – A bulleted history of this incredible, 81-year-old local tradition.
- WES Video Gallery – Videos of past events.
- WES Photo Gallery – Photos of past events.