Bargain Shopping

The Pink Elephant Sale Actually Is Your Grandma's Rummage Sale, and It's Awesome

Born during World War II, this has been the mother of all Houston garage sales for 65 years.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen October 10, 2016

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Pink Elephant Sale event chairs Lori Britton and Pat Wallace prep for the big event, taking place Oct. 14-15.

During World War II, when rations were the order of the day and budgets were tight, the philanthropic ladies of the River Oaks Garden Club founded the River Oaks Green Market. The market sold produce from Houston's victory gardens—the practical food gardens planted during the war to help feed the country, in place of our more ornamental florals—and allowed Houstonians to resell their hard-to-find goods while supporting the war effort by sending aid and foodstuffs across the Atlantic, part of the Bundles for Britain movement. 

The Green Market was the precursor to the River Oaks Garden Club's annual Pink Elephant Sale, which started in 1952 and celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, taking place Oct. 14–15 at the Bayou City Event Center. It's not just Houston's oldest rummage sale, it's also one of the best. Garden Club friends and members donate year-round, offering up everything from plants and gardening equipment from the Garden Club and other local nurseries (obviously) to designer clothes, antiques, collectibles, toys, home furnishings, accessories and shoes. It's basically the mother of all Houston garage sales, taking place over the same weekend, under one roof. 

After 65 years, some things about this sale feel downright vintage: the only accepted forms of payment are cash and check, and admission costs a whopping $1—proceeds benefit the community through ROGC's educational programs, scholarships, conservation efforts and beautification projects. We think your grandma would approve.

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