Once a year, people of all stripes gather in a Jingletown warehouse in East Oakland to explore the treasures to be had at a huge White Elephant sale. You can find pretty much anything there. There are entire sections dedicated to art, furniture, electronics, clothes, jewelry, books, kitchen ware, and a host of other random doodads. In years past, there have even been cars and a pony for sale. You just never know what you’ll stumble upon.
The annual sale is a fundraiser quarterbacked by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board–a group of volunteers who founded a non-profit organization way back in 1955 in order to raise money for the Oakland Museum. The White Elephant sale is their only fundraiser each year, but they have raised over $19 million for the museum over the course of their esteemed history. Here’s how it works: People donate goods to the Women’s Board year-round, and then one weekend per year a huge sale takes place to sell this wide-ranging collection of items to the general public. Proceeds from every purchase go to the Oakland Museum to help pay for educational services, exhibitions, capital improvements, and more.
It’s a fine example of the age-old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Only, in this case, there is secondary treasure to be had in the form of quality programming at the Oakland Museum. It’s a win-win-win!
This year the sale is March 1st and 2nd! That means, you’ve missed Saturday already and need to get your butt on down to the sale today (Sunday March 2, 2014)! Hoards of bargain hunters will be on hand to search through bed frames, lights, Christmas decorations, dining room sets, records, couches, clothes, and all sorts of bric-a-brac. To make the shopping and people watching even richer, listen to the P.A. announcer as he scolds husbands who have lost their wives, connects parents to missing children, and asks shoppers to answer their phones when family members are calling them!
Outside the Jingletown warehouse you’ll also find food stands, Girl Scout cookie slangers, and Zeva and Jeff inside the Get Goes coffee truck (Tell them we sent you). Also, don’t forget to thank the hundreds of volunteers to have helped collect, price, sell, and wrap your new treasures.
- Sale hours are from 10am-4pm
- The warehouse is located on the Oakland Estuary at 333 Lancaster Street, Oakland CA 94601.
- Parking is limited, so we recommend taking the free shuttle from Fruitvale Bart or parking on the frontage road to the East Oakland side of Fruitvale Ave. and then following the abandoned train tracks back toward the warehouse.
- Shoppers can pay for their White Elephant purchases using cash, checks with identification, debit cards and Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit cards. American Express cards are not accepted.
- All sales are final. Items are sold “as is? and returns or exchanges are not allowed.
Jane Castro is a journalist and media enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Bacolod in the Philippines. She loves skating, scuba diving, and archery on her free time.