Friday, October 15, 2010

We survived the Fiesta Tent Sale!!!

Yesterday was the BIG day...Auntie and I met really early-it was still dark out-and headed off for Newell, West Virginia to the Homer Laughlin China Company's Fiesta Tent Sale.

Four hours driving in the car going to the sale was a long trip, but with all of the beautiful sights (sunrise, fall colors, beautiful blue skies, the hills) and the excitement of not knowing what to expect, it went pretty fast. The ride home felt like we had been driving since Sunday!

 This was about half-way into our trip.

We had very dramatic skies-it kept going back and forth between sunny, blue skies to misty rainy dark skies.

Can you see the sign? It's only 75 cents to cross-but they take a dollar and give you a ticket for the return trip.

 The Newell Bridge.

Welcome to Newell sign with the Fiesta logo right in the middle.

When we got there, there was pretty heavy security, and tons of cars parked in the grass between the factory and the road. We were literally way out in left field (there was a baseball backstop in the field!). We walked up to a line of about 100-150 or so people and got our ticket. This was way up on the hill quite a ways from the retail store and the tent sale (which was behind the factory, along the river). We stood there about 35-40 minutes before they let most of the group through to walk to another line. I guess for safety purposes, they can't have too many people waiting in line between the tent and factory. We were kind of in a bad spot should there be a fire or some other catastrophe. It would have been hard to get out-especially if there were more people down there.

 This was the first line.

 This was as we were walking to the second line. This line should have been about a 30 minute wait, we were told, but it ended up being 2+ hours because a couple of their cash registers went down, so there was a HUGE back-up of people trying to check out, and no one new can go in to shop until the existing shoppers check out. Only 75 people are allowed in the tent at a time.

 This was one of the ladies from the group of four who had numbers several spots behind us. She was really nice, and we talked back and forth with her most of the time we were in line. She did follow the rules and waited her turn.

This side of the tent would fly a little up every once in a while and we could catch a tiny glimpse of what people were buying. It was the check-out line and it was a steady, constant line.

It sprinkled a couple drops here and there while we were in line, and it was really windy (our cheeks got wind-burned!).

 While we were standing in line, we were trying to be somewhat in order. There were four ladies who had numbers several spaces behind us, but they insisted on being in line in front of us. This was really frustrating to Auntie the "rule follower". I reassured her that "they won't get in ahead of us, they go by the ticket number". Two of the ladies snuck in several places ahead of us-so much for them checking the tickets! I was really frustrated by that! HLC even says on their website that if you aren't in the correct "ticket" order, you will forfeit your place in line and have to go to the end of the line and start the wait all over again-yet they don't enforce it-not good!

Also, while we were standing in line, a man and a woman came out the entrance with their dolly with milk crates on it and squeezed their way through the line of people waiting to get in, saying they got kicked out and told to go to the retail store to pay for their purchases. People were asking them what they got kicked out for and he said it was because he complained about people line jumping. As he got further down the line, we heard that he had a called someone in there a nasty name...I think they should have kicked him out and made him LEAVE all the dishes behind. He should have had to go to the end of the line and start the wait all over or be taken off the premises. 
We kept seeing him and his wife walking in and out of the retail store and all around the check-out end of the tent. Then we see a security guard coming from the check-out end, and one coming from the start end, and as they passed right in front of us, one told the other, that it was "that same guy causing trouble again". We later learned he got taken away in handcuffs. Really? It is just DISHES people, and second quality dishes at that! How immature! How embarrassing for his poor wife! He looked to be in his late 50's, early 60's-shame on him-he should be able to control himself better in public. They said he made one of the female employees cry! The whole saga with him probably went on for an hour and a half or so.

 Another shot of the line-so you can see what a tight fit it was, and how that man and his wife (with their dolly of full milk crates) had to squeeze through.

Finally we got to enter the tent!!! Just as we got our crates and got in, the sky opened up and it poured!!

It was VERY overwhelming! There were people EVERYWHERE!! It sure felt like there were more than 75 in there at a time! Another thing that was really annoying were the people with the giant over-sized carts and dollys-something HLC says on their website is NOT allowed...why have rules, and have them posted on your website if you aren't going to enforce them? I was worried that they would tell me our dolly was too big, it was actually one of the smaller ones there (you'll see a picture of it a little later).

A shot of the sky while we were waiting in line between the factory and the tent. Just as we were entering the tent we heard a loud crack of thunder. One of the dealers we had been talking to in line told us if it started thundering and lightening, they would kick us out. He said he had had that happen to him before. Can you imagine our joy at hearing that after driving 4 hours, standing in line for 3 hours, we might get kicked out just as we got in-LOL!

After we paid for our purchases, we got a couple of pics of the entrance to their retail store.

 They have a neat broken pottery garden along the front of the retail store.

 Of course, we had to stop in the store! We couldn't just leave without checking it out! I went in first while Auntie watched our purchases from the tent. They wrapped everything up really well and boxed all of our purchases up for us.

These were my purchases, before I went into the retail store-see my dolly was a pretty big one! 

I found these in the store, they were only $2 each and they look so much like Swanky Swigs, I couldn't pass them up-you know how much whining I've been doing all summer about not finding any Swanky Swigs! 

After Auntie had a chance to pick up some juice glasses and some tumblers in the store, we turned in her rented cart, and piled everything up on the dolly. We stopped at the Hall tent on the way to the parking area. Did you know Homer Laughlin China bought Hall China? It was a much, much smaller tent with not very much merchandise in it, but I found two pitchers I couldn't live without-I think they are very unique-tell me what you think (certain people think the white one looks like an old-fashioned urinal...)

These are my treasures from the Fiesta tent...
Red prep bowls-in both sizes. There was a limit of 2 per customer on these. I only got the little one because my cashier asked if I wanted a small one because someone in line before me had too many and couldn't get it and she had it under the table.

Two dinner plates, one Lemongrass, and one Turquoise and a Turquoise Gusto bowl.

A Peacock sauce boat, and a red loaf pan.

 There are actually 6 of these mugs, but Eric just had to use the white one this morning for tea, and I didn't feel like washing it just to take a picture of it! I was bummed when I saw I got 2 in the yellow-I was trying to not get any duplicate colors.

A white pedestal bowl and 4 cereal bowls-I got two in Lemongrass on purpose, because it looks so much like the chartreuse color that I love, and collect (that NO one is allowed to use).

A set of 4 square mugs. I'm still not liking the square plates and bowls, but these mugs are pretty awesome! Maybe I'll end up liking the plates and bowls after a while.

This is Auntie, peeking out from behind the dolly when I went to get the car. These are our purchases combined-they're not all mine!

 She still has her sock on her hand! You wear a sock on your hand to dust off the pottery-everything was covered with pottery dust. Some just a tiny dusting-some was really thick and gray. I took one of Eric's old low cut socks-it was yucky gray when I was done.

Some of the dealers we were talking to said that on Saturday, all the items left in the tent go down to half off and whatever doesn't sell goes over to the edge of the property and gets smashed, and if you get caught trying to take some of the pieces they will have you arrested. I think they should donate it to a non-profit agency that helps people get back on their feet rather than smash it. But, if they just HAVE to smash it, they should bag it up and sell the pieces-I know people would buy bags of broken Fiesta for mosaic craft projects-there were ladies behind us talking about just that! 

 I know this is a looonnnnng post, and I'm still not done telling you what I have to say-LOL!  Here are my thoughts about the tent sale after having been through it now.

1. It is not worth the 4 hour drive and 3 hour wait in line and then another 4 hour drive home. Why? Because the items they have in the tent are nothing special. Just your average, run of the mill items that are regular things from the 2nds room. When we got in line, we were given a price sheet that listed over 120 items and their prices. We got all excited and started plotting our course and planning what we were going to look for and get. When we got in, there were only 42 different items all in different colors, so it looked like a lot of stuff, but it was the same things over and over. I emailed a veteran tent sale shopper that I found on Facebook and he told me that they restock the tent throughout the day-so don't worry about having enough stuff to choose from and buy-they never restocked it the whole time we were shopping-and believe me-we stayed in there for a good long time!

2. I was very disappointed that people were allowed to cut in line, and there were such huge carts and dollys in the tent-making it very hard to get around-especially since their rules on their website say the over-sized carts and dollys aren't allowed.

3. The event planner in me thinks it would make more sense to have a second tent just for check outs so that the original tent can just be shoppers. That way the line to shop would be shorter and would move faster because all the people waiting to check out would be in another tent. 

4. I think if they give you a price sheet with over 120 different items on it, there should be 120 different items to choose from.

5. I think for newbies, they should make signs at each crate telling what the item is. How long would it take to print up some real simple signs with text only that says what an item is.

6. I think they should have a couple of staff members freely walking about in the tent offering assistance and answering questions. 

7. I think the information on their website should be expanded so that newbies like us could  know a little better what to expect before they get there. While they do have good information on there, I still had questions and had to send them an email for the answers. Basic stuff like credit cards accepted and things like that.

8. They should sell Fiesta shirts and hoodies! I know I would buy one of each-maybe in multiple colors-and I'm sure other people would too! 

9. If I'm ever in the area for something else, you bet I'd stop by again- I'd make sure I was either in the first 75 to go in, or go later in the day when the crowds thin out. I probably would skip the first day too. The one dealer we were talking with pointed out that of the 70 or so people in line ahead of us, about 30 of them were dealers.

10. I was thankful that we had the dolly, thankful that they took credit cards, and glad that we took the adventure, because if we didn't do it, I'd always wonder and wish I would have done it. Even though I was disappointed in the tent sale, I still LOVE, LOVE,  LOVE Fiesta and will continue to be a loyal customer-I guess I'll just have to buy my items from local dealers, internet dealers and Ebay.


  1. Holy cats you are one strong woman. I have such a hard time with crowds. If I would have been there I would have turned around and walked home. I don't care if they were giving away free money. well ok free money maybe.
    Life is an adventure and you just had one.

  2. Well, Bargain Hunter, we DID have fun, but I agree with all of the negatives you mentioned, too. I'd go back again if I were going to be in the area or on the way to somewhere else.

  3. Hi Acorn Hollow-thanks for stopping by! I don't generally like crowds and waiting in line either, was Fiesta...and it was for the most part, pretty excellent prices...and it was a once in a lifetime (I think) trip. It wasn't free, but it was pretty cheap because we didn't sleep over-and now that I've had a day to recover-I think it was worth it-lol! Nice to meet you!!!

    Hi Auntie-it was certainly an adventure!!! Lots of things to see that's for sure-and some interesting people to talk to! Thanks for letting me drag you along!!!

  4. Wow!! What a great experience. Thanks for the great pictures, and taking us along with you. I love your beautiful finds.

  5. Just think i live in chester wva and work down the road from hl. I get new stuff for half off any time. I have a huge collection of old and new. Love the colors. Great story. True. Coulnt paint a perfect picture.

    1. Hi Anonymous!
      Oh, my, gosh! I would have to work 2 jobs just to be able to afford my Fiesta addiction if I lived where you live!!! I am jealous that's for sure! I'm looking forward to a return trip some day!!! Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  6. I was just wondering what were the prices of some of the items you purchased? I cant read the price list, lol....

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  8. Ditto to the previous question - can you give some example prices? I'm going to be 8 1/2 months pregnant at the next tent sale and I'm trying to determine if it's worth it to go in that state, ha!!

  9. Hi. My daughter and I went to the newell, WV tent sale June 2016. We live in WI, never been to WV before. We stayed 2 nights, it was an 8 hr. drive 1 way. It was definitely worth it, I figured out difference btwn what I paid (I got only serving pieces, cannisters & mixing bowls), and what store sale prices here (with coupons) and I saved over 500.00. We stayed in Ohio about 26 miles away,motel there much less than Newell ones I checked are. Next day went to E. Liverpool, which has a great large antique store which has fiesta, old & new. Saw museum, the hall closet outlet, etc. Tent sale has shopping carts, we both got one. I would not have bothered if I had to use a dolly. I probably would've spilled everything over. Went 1st day, we got just 1 page of price list, no lists posted in tent either. Had to not buy a few things because prices were more than expected. I heard next day they gave full lists & had prices posted. Other than that, very good. They did restock different things while we were there, which was about 2 1/2 hrs. retail store also has prices lower than MFRP marked, plus 15% off that during tent sale. I got plates & small bowls locally before going because of good store coupons, combined with sale price,so did not need to get those. We had just enough room in car for what we got. Will probably not go again, the ohio turnpike tolls are ridiculously high. On way home we stopped at mountaneer casino, they give you 20.00 to play free & food coupons, we ended up making 60.00 on their money, which at least covered cost of Ohio's high tolls. Fun experience, never went to anything like it before.