Here's to the ladies who lunch

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First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest
  • First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest
I grew up visiting Lake Forest nearly every weekend. It’s a beautifully manicured place—Lake Forest public restrooms are cleaner than my bathroom is on a good day. There are wonderful things to experience there—gorgeous forest preserves, palatial houses, the Botanic Garden—but as a Hyde Park kid, all I wanted to do was go to the mall. The mall promised a road to glamor. Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited Too, and Paul Frank were my mecca. But I’ve left my mall days behind and replaced them with a love for Lake Forest rummage sales. And next Saturday, May 5, the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest will hold its annual sale—the mother of all rummage sales.

The sale has been a community event for 62 years. When it began in 1950, the sale grossed $3,092. The money was used to buy sewing machines and A/V equipment for the church. In recent years, the sale has grossed around $170,000 per year, making it one of the largest in the country.

It takes money to make money. According to 2007 census data, the income per capita in Lake Forest was $77,092 and the median income for family households was more than $200,000. So it comes as no surprise that donations for the annual sale are overwhelming designer clothes. Last year I saw everything from St. John jackets to Chanel suits. Thank you, ladies of Lake Forest!

If you want to get your hands on the goods, you have to line up around 3 AM with the rest of 'em. The sale begins at 7 AM and items go quickly. It’s not an event for the claustrophobic. I often felt like a cow being herded through narrow chutes. The sale takes up multiple floors, each divided by theme. This year promises to be bigger than last, which until now had marked a record number of donations (who says we're in a recession?).

I’m really not the type to pull hair and shove in order to get my ideal dress, but I am willing to feel a bit bovine in the name of a Burberry coat.

Sat 5/5, 7 AM-4 PM, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, 700 N. Sheridan, Lake Forest

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