I attended my first Lancaster mud sale last summer in the small crossroads town of Refton. And I’m hooked.

They don’t sell mud at these events, just like they don’t sell garages at garage sales. It’s a lot better than that. They’re attractions that entice the bargain hunter, the antiques buff and more.

“Mud sale” is the Lancaster County term for the annual auctions to help benefit local volunteer fire companies. The sales get their name from the muddy conditions in the early spring when they first get underway. Sales are held throughout the year, but most are in spring. They start in mid-February and end around late October.

Each year, mud sales across Lancaster County attract thousands of people looking to experience Amish culture and take advantage of the plentiful bargains. Typical items for sale or auction include anything from Amish quilts and antiques, flowers, shrubs and lawn equipment, building materials, furniture, buggies and more.

At some sales, industrious Amish boys will use their wagons to cart your loot to your car if you ask. Make sure you’re generous with your tip.

And of course, there’s the great food. Grab some delicious corn chowder and wash it down with a homemade root beer.

You often see cars with license plates from Maryland, New Jersey, New York and other neighboring states in the parking lots at these events. They draw from near and far.

Many times, several auctioneers are selling items at the same time, which can make for some strategic decisions on just where you want to sit. The rapid-fire voices of the auctioneers provide a great backdrop to the sales that often last throughout the day.

For more information on this Purely PA! attraction, visit padutchcountry.com.