Rummage sale season is here

These two sales offer lots of goods at low prices, for charity.

The Boutique at the Rink runs Tuesday through Saturday at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink, 345 Illick's Mill Road.

It's a good thing no one from the Lehigh Valley won that huge Powerball jackpot.

If they had, they may have splurged on a fancy vacation to some tropical island. Then they would have missed two of the best events in the Valley: The Boutique at the Rink and the Great Southside Sale.

That's right, Cheapsters. Rummage sale season is on. And these two events pack the inventory of hundreds of garage sales in two convenient locations, saving you a lot of time and gas.

The Boutique at the Rink runs Tuesday through Saturday at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink, 345 Illick's Mill Road. It starts with "Premiere Night," 4-9 p.m. Tuesday. You have to pay $10 to get first crack at all the stuff.

Then the sale is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. All items are half-priced Thursday and Friday. The sale ends with bag day, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Stuff whatever you can find in a bag and pay $10 for a small bag or $30 for a large bag.

We stopped by the Boutique last week and found that this event keeps getting bigger. Donations are up about 25 percent from last year. And it's not just the inventory that's grown. So have the sizes of many of the offerings.

"We have a lot more plus-sizes this year and we're trying to get the word out about that," volunteer Susan Haytmanek said. "Remember to push the plus-sizes."

Volunteers do a great job sorting the inventory by size so you quickly find something to your liking. Another big plus about the Boutique is that they have dressing rooms so you can actually try something on before you buy it.

They have plenty for men, too, of all sizes. Lots of suits, dress shirts, belts and shoes make it a great place for a recent college grad to get started job hunting in style without running up the credit cards. They can buy new duds after they get the job.

They have a lot of sporting goods, too, especially golf clubs. They also have some wet suits and hunting clothes.

You can catch a sneak peek at some of the stuff in a video at http://www.mcall.com/onthecheap.

The South Side Sale runs 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the 600 block of East Fourth Street in Bethlehem, between Pierce and Buchanan streets. Featuring donations from Lehigh University students, this is a great place for recent high school graduates to shop before heading off to college. It's also a good place for anyone looking for a deal.

They had about 1,000 people on line last year waiting for the sale to open, co-organizer Kim Carrell-Smith said.

"We have a lot more dorm refrigerators this year," she said. "We've got lots of pots and pans and crystal and we've got more fans than we had in the past."

Both events benefit charities, so you can feel good about splurging. Boutique at the Rink raised more than $180,000 last year that it donated to St. Luke's Cancer Center, Cancer Support Community and St. Luke's Hospice.

The Southside Sale raises money for youth programs in south Bethlehem, including homework clubs.

Send your tips: spencer.soper@mcall.com, 610-820-6694 or P.O. Box 1260 Allentown, 18105

Facebook: Type "On The Cheap" in the Facebook search box and check under pages.

Videos: mcall.com/onthecheap

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