Vera Bradley Outlet Sale: So much color, so much excitement at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

Sale helpers look through the items for sale before the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Shoppers wait for entrance to the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale helper Tanna Smith looks Tuesday at wallets at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Vera Bradley Outlet Sale helpers shop and organize before the presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Folded Flap Wristlets, which retail for $48, are for sale for $19.99 at Tuesday's presale of the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale at Allen County Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Color pops on these RFID (radio-frequency identification) Wallets in Art Poppies for sale for $29.99 at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Metallic wristlets shine at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
These boots were made for rain. The boots, in various patterns, including Santiago Floral, with a suggested retail price of $128, are for sale for $39.99 at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Ralph Lichtsinn, a longtime volunteer with his wife and grandson, is business on the top and Vera Bradley in the middle. He was checking out the items at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Small Ella Totes and Drawstring Backpacks are for sale at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
These Sycamore and Mallory leather bags are at least 65 percent off at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
A skyline scene is depicted in gold on a black bag at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Travel cosmetic bags are for sale at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Penguins waddle on these ornaments for sale for 99 cents at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Beach bags are for sale at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Birds of a feather flock together in this Drawstring Family Tote at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Is this pattern something to crow about? It's on items at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Goods are piled high at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
A helper straightens things up at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The Vera Bradley green tag dangles from these items at Tuesday's Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Color bursts in this Floral Fiesta pattern at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
A helper works with the high piles of goods at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
These Pop Art canvas slip-on shoes, which normally cost $58, are for sale for $24.99 at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The doors go up and the crowd gets ready to rush in at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Sale helpers clap as the first shoppers enter the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
These $12 Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer T-shirts carry the message of HOPE at Tuesday's presale for the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
These Vera Bradley Disney Alice in Wonderland Quilted Slip-on Shoes carry a heart motif on one shoe and a red Alice on the other at Tuesday's Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Jewelry is for sale for $9.99 at Tuesday's Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The Runway Model pattern struts its stuff on a large duffle at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale presale Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The Vera Bradley Outlet Sale beckons those enjoying the presale privilege Tuesday at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Joanne Bartholomew stands with a pile of Vera Bradley Outlet Sale items she and Carol Lane were possibly going to buy Tuesday at the presale at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

The Vera Bradley Outlet Sale has been held for a number of years at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, but the sale still draws such excitement from buyers that when the doors open, shoppers start running – OK, power-walking – through the aisles.

That’s what happened Tuesday afternoon as sale volunteers got into place to greet buyers as the garage-style doors slowly rose. Soon after the doors had risen to head height and the way was clear, the first shoppers in line rushed through, grabbed their pink plastic bags from volunteers and disappeared among the tables piled high with colorful quilted fabric items.

Sale volunteers applauded shoppers, who were treated like rock stars taking the concert stage, and tried to stay out of the way.

In addition to cotton, leather and microfiber purses, shoppers have a chance to buy these items at marked-down prices: Christmas ornaments painted with penguins, beach bags with blue crabs on them, black leather phone cases with the “Alice in Wonderland” Cheshire cat, jewelry, scarves, and much more. A hundred different items are listed in the shopping guide that’s available at the sale. Multiple items, multiple patterns, multiple choices.

The sale runs Wednesday-Sunday and costs $5 for admission Wednesday-Friday for timed sessions 7:30-10 a.m.; 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 2:30-5 p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m. Admission is free 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Registration is free and required for anyone who buys something. To register or buy tickets, go to www.verabradley.com/us/static/annualoutletsale/schedule. Purchases are limited to $3,500 per buyer.

Joanne Bartholomew, a friend of a Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley employee, stood with a pile of items that she and Carol Lane had collected before the presale opened when employees and volunteers could shop. Lane said her husband told her to get totebags for office gifts. The bags were marked down from $58 each to $19.99.

“They didn’t have the ornament I wanted,” Bartholomew told Lane. But “I got 9 of the others.”

Ball ornaments were listed for 99 cents.

Bartholomew pulled out items from a rolling Vera Bradley luggage bag, a useful tip for those who don’t want to be loaded down by a bulging pink plastic bag.

Within about 5 minutes of the doors opening, some women already had filled their plastic bags. A usual shopping technique is to grab things and stuff them into the plastic bag, then find a spot off to the side to go through the items before discarding any unwanted items in the shopping carts at the end of rows.

Next year’s sale is scheduled for April 10-14.

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