A popular shopping extravaganza that dates back to World War II is making a splash with its first event since the pandemic. The longtime Pink Elephant Sale, a local fixture organized by the River Oaks Garden Club, is back this weekend after a two-year hiatus.
Hordes of shoppers from River Oaks to out of state will line up Friday and Saturday, September 16 and 17, at Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Rd. Admission to the highly anticipated affair is a whopping $1.
Considered by many in River Oaks, Houston, and far beyond to be the grand dame of garage/rummage sales, the Pink Elephant Sale boasts clothes, antiques, collectibles, bric-a-brac, toys (many vintage), home goods, accessories, hats, shoes, and more. A big draw is furniture; here, River Oaks families donate solid-wood estate pieces meant to withstand the test of time — at a fraction of their original price.
“We also have midcentury modern chairs, old English pieces — I’m looking at French commode right now,” Vicki Lange, sale co-chair and member of the ROGC, tells CultureMap from the sale floor.
Given the source of the donated items, pieces include couture clothing and fine jewelry, plus classic pieces. Rare, designer items (CultureMap once nabbed an exquisite herringbone jacket) sit alongside costume jewelry, faux fur items, handbags, and much more.
“If you want it, it’s here,” says Lange. “We call this the best recycling ever.”
A cherished tradition, the sale also connects donors with buyers. “One young couple bought some estate furniture,” recalls Lange. “The next year, they printed a photo of the furniture in their home and showed it to the donor — she burst into tears knowing it went to a good home.”
Thrifty buyers can also rest assured their money is going to a good cause (aside from their bottom line). Funds raised at the sale support the Garden Club’s education, horticulture, conservation, and Bayou Bend support programs.
Dating back to World War II, the Pink Elephant Sale was originally dubbed the River Oaks Green Market, a farmers market put on by Garden Club founders. In 1952, the sale morphed into what is now the Pink Elephant Sale. Lange jokes that she’s still researching the origin of the colorful name.
Looking ahead, with more than 1,800 packing the sale in 2019, Lange expects that many or more this weekend. Houston-area shoppers should’t sleep on this one, as word has caught on around the region, state, and even beyond. “We have a family who drives in from Louisiana every year,” says Lange. “They even bring lawn chairs to sit in line.”
The River Oaks Garden Club’s annual Pink Elephant Sale run 9 am-5 pm Friday, September 16 and 9 am-2 pm Saturday, September 17 at Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Rd. For more information, visit River Oaks Garden Club online. Admission is $1.