UPDATE—Due to COVID-19 prevention measures, the 2021 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale has been canceled. The sale will return May 4-8, 2022.
I first heard about the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale in 2016. I had been in Fort Wayne for less than a year, and it just so happened that friends were visiting from out of town the weekend of the sale. I also had a performance with Heartland Sings scheduled for that Sunday (I’m a full-time vocal artist with the company)
Naive as I was, I figured my boyfriend and I could take our friends out to brunch, and stop by the outlet sale before I had to show up for soundcheck. BIG mistake!
I had no idea how gargantuan the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale really was. It takes place at the Memorial Coliseum, the biggest venue in Fort Wayne, and the parking lot was packed.
Even though I thought we had plenty of time, by the time we had parked, weaved our way through the bounty of products, and waited in the winding checkout line, I was running very, very behind.
The performers had been called two hours before the show for soundcheck, and I got there an hour late! It was mortifying. At least I found some cool stuff.
How to Enjoy the Vera Bradley Annual Sale
As you can probably tell from my story, planning is crucial when going to the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale.
For Vera Bradley fans, the Outlet Sale is the ultimate shopping experience! There are mountains of merchandise for crazy low prices (40-60% off), from keychains and phone cases to clothing and, of course, Vera Bradley’s famous bags.
Here are my tips for getting the most out of the 2020 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale.
1. Book Your Hotel
This is an extremely popular sale, and area hotels fill up quickly. So book your hotel early.
I recommend staying in the Coliseum Boulevard area! There are some great restaurants and shopping available in the area, perfect for a shopping getaway! Plus, be sure to check out the hotel packages specifically for sale attendees.
2. Register and Get Tickets
I actually got this part right! You need to register to attend this coveted event.
If you’d like to attend during the first three days of the event (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), you’ll also need to buy a $5 ticket. You can register, and purchase your tickets online!
If you're worried about lines, try to attend one of the ticketed sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday! There are 4 times available, and each session has a limited number of tickets available! You can even plan the ultimate experience with VIP tickets—which include an exclusive entrance, checkout, and parking, a $25 off $100 coupon, and more goodies at the sale.
3. Get Ready for the Long Haul
As I learned the hard way, the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale is not an event you can just pop in and out of.
Come prepared by eating a meal beforehand, wearing comfortable clothes and footwear, and leaving yourself more than enough time to make the most of the sale!
4. Know the Details
For an event like this, doing your homework can help you navigate the sale with ease.
Here are a few pertinent details:
- Parking at the Memorial Coliseum is $6, with a “preferred” lot available for $10.
- You can get into the event using printed tickets, or you can just provide your phone number and photo ID so employees can look up your registration.
- The actual sale is laid out in a large showroom, with new merchandise arriving on the floor all the time. This room can get pretty crazy during the initial rush of excitement, so come ready to be patient with your fellow shoppers should they accidentally jostle you!
- Once you’ve chosen your items, you’ll head to a different room with organized checkout lines. Leave plenty of time for this step!
With proper planning—whether that means booking a hotel room or not attempting to casually shop the sale before a performance—you’re sure to have a great time at this year’s Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale.
So make your arrangements now, and prepare for an unforgettable shopping experience.
This blog was originally published in 2017 and has been updated. Last Update: January 2021