After making their way through dozens of tables of merchandise, sisters Melinda Williams and Angela Billingslea finally settled on a pair of antique chairs.

“They’ve got a lot of character,” Williams said, happily noting that the set was priced at only $20.

The sisters were among nearly 3,000 bargain hunters who packed a vacant office building in the White Clay Center near Newark Saturday for the Junior League of Wilmington’s “Whale of a Sale” fundraiser.

Billed by organizers as “Delaware’s grandest garage sale,” the event, now in its 32nd year, offered thousands of donated new and gently used items at deeply discounted prices.

The amount raised had not been calculated as of Saturday afternoon, but Jinni Butz, president of the Junior League, said the event was on pace to easily exceed its goal of $32,000.

Proceeds will support a variety of children’s health initiatives run by the philanthropic organization.

Butz said some shoppers lined up as early as 9 p.m. Friday in order to get the first crack at the merchandise once doors opened at 8 a.m.

Popular items included prom dresses, electronics, furniture and children’s toys.

“It’s nice to see little kids come up with their favorite toy they’re getting for $2,” Butz said.

Clothing was another fast-selling item.

“I got most of my younger daughter’s summer wardrobe for $30,” Williams said. “You can’t beat that.”

Across the room, first-time Whale-ers Greg and Jane DiDiego, along with friend Eric Starrett, were lugging around a 1890’s oak dresser they plan to refinish.

“Only $25 dollars, and it comes with a cool mirror,” Starrett said.

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