Thursday, January 9, 2014

That Time I Went to Matilda Jane Art Fair

 So, last June, I went to Matilda Jane Art Fair.  And I thought I would put together a little travel fyi for anyone out there who might be planning to go this year.  This was a once in a lifetime experience for me.  I got to meet several good friends who I've previously only chatted with online.  I also got to hang out with some old friends who I've known now for awhile.

It was soooo fun, and a much needed mommy's weekend without kids!

What is Matilda Jane Art fair, you ask?

Well, Matilda Jane is a small children's clothing company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  They sell through in-home shows.  And once a year, they do a huge sale of one-of-a-kind items in their old warehouse.  It's super fun!

Where to stay

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott downtown.  It was within walking distance to the MJC property.  We had to drive to a local part for the preparty though.  Matilda Jane reserves a block of rooms for Art Fair attendees.  They sell out fast, in January.  So you have to be quick to reserve your room, once they announce the info on the company blog.

If you're in the block of rooms, you get a special treat when you check in.  This year it was a rainbow of yummy candies.

Where to eat

There's a restaurant in the hotel, which came in handy.  And there are several downtown restaurants within walking distance.  We chose to drive to the Casa Grille, a locally owned Italian restaurant.  The service and food were awesome!

Link here for Ft. Wayne locations and hours.

Special Events:  Chicks for Children luncheon

I attended the Chicks for Children fundraiser luncheon.  Chicks for Children is a non-profit based in Conway Arkansas.  Their goal is to help the people of Kitale, Kenya.  

"Our overarching mission is to reduce or eliminate the devastating consequences of poverty characterized by a lack of food, clean water, homelessness, illiteracy, sickness, despair, hopelessness, voicelessness, fear, abuse, and social isolation."

I was so blessed to hear about the work Matilda Jane Clothing Company is doing alongside Dr. Mark Cooper, founder of Chicks for Children.

Please visit the link HERE to learn more about this awesome organization, and consider donating to their cause. 

We all got to sit through an awesome presentation by Dr. Mark Cooper,  we ate a delicious lunch, and then we got to shop the warehouse sale a day early, for one hour.   Honestly, I was so blessed by the experience that I didn't even need the perk of shopping.  It was truly a touching experience.



The preparty was held at Headwaters Park in Ft. Wayne.   The location was beautiful and there was plenty of room to move around.  You have to buy a $10 admission ticket in advance, but it includes an awesome dinner buffet.

Be sure to buy raffle tickets!  Because they give away pretty awesome things, like the entire fall collection and first to shop the event.

What about camping out?

The line to get into the Saturday morning shopping event started Friday evening, and was quite long.  But the clothing racks empty really quickly on Saturday morning, and camping in line bettered your chances of getting any specific items that you really want.

Be forewarned - it gets really cold at night!   I was regretting wearing flip flops and dreaming of my UGGs by 3am.   We had a lot of fun talking, meeting new people, and playing games while we waited.  We also slept a teensy bit too :)
One thing we did do, was write our position in line on our hands.  This came in handy when people tried to break in line at 6am the next morning.  We simply called over the security guard and he checked the line breakers' numbers, sending them alll the way to the back.  So don't break in line!  It's not worth in and everyone will know who you are and remember.





It's good to have an idea of what you are looking for when you go in.  I got a lot of good items just wandering around.  A lot of people will grab big armfuls and then sort them and discard what they don't want.  I found a ton of cute things by waiting for the discards to be reshelved.  And I shopped for both my girls, and got them quite a few matching sets.




The best part?  The people!

I met so many great people, and grew friendships I already had.  It was so fun and I would love to do it again!

SO.... There you have it.  An awsome experience.  A fun weekend.  And a presentation that changed how I look at Kitale, Africa.

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