Raising a child is expensive. That's why, since I've become a parent, I've gotten cheap. As in, I don't pay full price for anything for my daughter. The most expensive thing I've recently bought for her is a clearance sundress at the new Ocean State Job Lot in North Adams. It was $8 and I cringed at that.
Yes, clearance racks are gold mines for me, but there is another option: local fundraising used clothing and toy sales. And there are several this weekend worth checking out.
First is the now-once-a-year sale at Williamstown Elementary School on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the school's gymnasium. As a WES parent, I have seen first-hand the amazing piles of high-quality clothing donated, sorted and resold at this sale to fund PTO programs. Some still have tags on them and many are brand-name steals. A "preview rack" at a back-to-school picnic earlier this week featured cool Halloween costumes and lovely dresses.
Also on Saturday in Williamstown, Saints Patrick and Raphael Parish will be holding its annual tag and bake sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The toy and game room in this sale is always a hit with my daughter, and as parishioners, we also get first dibs on the leftovers on Sunday. It's like Christmas in September! The First Congregational Church up on Main Street also has a tag sale this day, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and while both are designed to help Williams College students deck out their dorm rooms, families are sure to find some treasures, too.
If you want more bargain shopping, head south to Great Barrington, where Community Health Programs is holding its two-day Children's Attic consignment sale at St. Peter's Center at East and Cottage streets. This sale features maternity clothing and all types of quality children's items, including fall/winter clothing (sizes newborn to youth 14), toys, videos, games, books, strollers, high chairs, furniture and more. The sale runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, and 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Shopping is great for moms, but maybe not so much for the kids. So here are two fun events to take the kids to between shopping trips - or send them off with Dad and shop by yourself! First, on Saturday, is Hillcrest Educational Centers' third annual HillcrestFest from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Hillcrest Educational Centers' administrative offices located at 788 South St. in Pittsfield. Sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union, the event will feature nationally renowned musician David Grover, the Bowey the Clown show, pony rides, bounce houses, face painting, spin and balloon art, a raffle and a digital photo booth.
Then on Sunday, also in Pittsfield, families can sample different cultures at the 10th annual Festival of Sharing Roots, held from noon to 5:30 p.m. on the lawn at St. Joseph Church on North Street. Booths representing seven international cuisines highlight the cultures that comprise the community. The festival will include music and dance by local players, a Kiddy Land, face painting and games.
Admission to both HillcrestFest and the Festival of Sharing Roots is free, which also appeals to my thrifty nature. Thrifty nature. Doesn't that sound better than cheap?
Berkshire County native Rebecca Dravis of Williamstown is a former journalist who now works for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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