Penryn delivers

By on March 25, 2015

Plenty of mud at this year’s sale

Katelyn Cain’s pink pants didn’t stand a chance at the Penryn Mud Sale. (photos by Laura Knowles)

Katelyn Cain’s pink pants didn’t stand a chance at the Penryn Mud Sale. (photos by Laura Knowles)

There was mud, mud and more mud at the 10th annual Penryn Mud Sale March 20 and 21 at the Penryn Fire Hall.

How muddy was it? The mud sale was so muddy, Penryn might need to be renamed Mudville.

It's never too cold for homemade ice cream!

It’s never too cold for homemade ice cream!

After a snowy Friday, much of the snow was melting into the already-muddy ground. The sky was milky white and the mud, well it was wet and sloppy, and as deep as six inches in places.

That didn’t stop folks from coming to Penryn’s annual springtime event the day after spring started. They wore tall rain boots, thick hunting boots, black rubber galoshes, jaunty plaid boots, stylish Hunter boots, knee-high snow boots and laced up all-weather boots. If you weren’t wearing boots, you were a muddy mess.

Katelyn Cain was wearing boots, under her long bell bottomed pink cargo pants. Her once-pink flared pants were covered in mud up to her knees. But she didn’t seem to mind. She was resigned to doing some major laundry when she got home.

“This will all be going into the washing machine tonight,” she said.

Cain and her fiancé Darren Tshudy are regulars at the Penryn event. They also like to make the rounds at the other Lancaster County mud sales.

“If you think this is muddy, last weekend Gordonville was even muddier than this,” noted Tshudy.

Little Gavin Miller loved his first-ever mud sale. The toddler was wearing green duck boots, and though he wasn’t making any comments about it, he was obviously enjoying the mess. He had a great time splashing around in the puddles.

Nearby, Lettie Miller (no relation) was focused on homemade ice cream. She stood in a sea of thick chocolately mud eating a vanilla ice cream cone.

“The first thing I do when I get here is to get ice cream. This is the best.” she said, “I don’t even care that it’s cold.”

The treat was made the old-fashioned way with a mix of cream, milk, vanilla and sugar. The engine-powered machine, equipped with two big wooden barrels, were surrounded by salt and ice as they churned the liquid into smooth, creamy ice cream.

Little Gavin Miller soaks in his first mud sale.

Little Gavin Miller soaks in his first mud sale.

Samuel Lapp was keeping an eye on the process with his sons. As soon as the ice cream was ready, they loaded it into big white plastic containers and hurried it over to the waiting crowd. You can’t get fresher ice cream than that.

Ice cream wasn’t the only draw at the Penryn sale. Inside the fire hall building, the room was jammed with fresh baked goods like pies, breads, rolls and cakes. Hungry mud sale shoppers lined up for hamburgers, hot dogs, subs, sausage sandwiches, pork and chicken barbecue. There were also food wagons featuring apple dumplings, French fries and doughnuts. New this year were oyster sandwiches.

Penryn’s famous secret-recipe chicken corn soup was on the menu, of course. Though the Pennsylvania German specialty was obviously made with chicken and corn in a seasoned chicken broth, Penryn soup makers refuse to divulge the exact recipe they use. It’s been passed down from generation to generation.

“All I can say is that it’s the best I ever had,” said Terry Houser, who was visiting Penryn’s mud sale for the first time. She picked up several containers to take back with her.

Houser was holding a carved wooden rooster that she had just bought and was heading over to the auction in hopes of snagging a handmade quilt. The quilt auction was lively, with an auctioneer doing his thing. “Going once, going twice, gone!” The flying geese quilt was sold and the next quilt, a log cabin pattern, was up next.

The sound of auctioneers was everywhere, with at least a dozen of them rattling off items that ranged from quilts and antiques to farm equipment, tools and garden plants. Just about everything was for sale. Except the mud. That was free.

A group of young boys wearing straw hats waited with their wagon to deliver garden items that had been purchased. The garden sale included topiaries, exotic ornamentals, fruit trees, shade and flowering trees, and perennials. There was also a nice selection of shrubs, nursery pots and planters.

As soon as the sale was made, the boys loaded the items on their cart and scurried it across the mud to the front of the fire hall for pick-up.

The antiques and collectibles auction was well-attended too, with folks gathered beneath the big white tent to examine items ranging from cobalt glass to a carousel horse. Auctioneers rambled on about items that included seamstress thread spool cabinets, decorated stoneware, a slot machine, a cigar shop Indian figure, country store items, a collection of advertising items, a hand-crafted pie safe, country primitives, railroad items, vintage baseball cards and an Edison phonograph player with a horn.

Out in the muddy field, other auctions featured farm equipment like a Whitehorse 603 Cart with torsion axle, flatbed Leacock Wagons, and an Elmridge 4-by-7 dump trailer. There was furniture built by local craftsmen, such as a five-piece oak bedroom suite, a maple roll top desk with dovetailed drawers and an oak mission rocker.

As for the rest, there were all sizes and types of sheds, lawn furniture, charted fishing trips, fresh produce, flowers, hay and straw, dog food, horse feed, and much more.

Parking was at a premium, so most people parked at White Oak Church of the Brethren, Newport Dove Church, Jerusalem Church and Manheim Brethren in Christ Church, then took the shuttle buses. Pleasant View Retirement Home residents were among the many who were shuttled in to enjoy the sales and the food.

It’s hard to know exactly how many people were there, but typically the Penryn Mud Sale draws around 4,000 people. The crowd was surely as big, if not a little bigger. It seemed that lots of mud made for lots of fun.

And it was all for a good cause too. This particular mud sale is a fundraiser for the Penryn Fire Company and the Limerock Parochial School, with proceeds expected to reach as much as $20,000.

Since it got its start 10 years ago, last weekend gave “mud sale” a whole new meaning.

“This is the muddiest one I’ve been to, and I have been to them all,” said Houser.

Laura Knowles is a local freelance feature writer for the Record Express, and a mud sale veteran. She welcomes reader feedback at 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *