The World’s Longest Yard Sale

The World’s Longest Yard Sale

Fun, Challenging and Takes Planning Ahead

BY LAVERNE STEVENS

The “Four J’s” – Jenny Blank, Judy Brown, Janet Long, and Julie Stalnaker – are longtime friends and have fun doing things together. Judy and Julie are sisters. Janet and Jenny are neighbors and have known each other for 35 years. They had read an article in Parade Magazine four years ago about the 127 Yard Sale. This advertises to be The World’s Longest Yard Sale. They did some research on it and decided to venture out one year to attend this event that takes place in early August every year. They have now made this an annual event. Also included in the trip are the very necessary C.J. Brown (Judy’s husband), a van, and a truck with a trailer.

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The 127 Yard Sale is set up along U.S. Highway 127 and covers a pretty straight route from north to south through six states including Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. There are thousands of vendors set up along the way and one can find anything from precious antiques, old cars, furniture, handmade crafts, artistic creations, to funnel cakes, corn dogs, and fresh-made lemonade.

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The first year they approached this trip as novice travelers to see what it was like. They left with no reservations made ahead of time and took each day as a new adventure. They soon found out this was a very big mistake. With the publicity and reputation this event has, they found hotels booked up and had trouble finding accommodations. This caravan has now taken place for them annually for the last three years in a much more organized fashion. The whole trip covers 690 miles. Traveling South to North, The trip begins in Gadsden, Alabama, and ends in Addison, Michigan. The “Four J’s” and C.J. go as far as Frankfort, Kentucky and head back home from there. All hotel accommodations are set ahead of time and they feel comfortable traveling the route as it is now a familiar drive for them.

Julie found a “farm table,” which has now become her dining room table. “I’ve been looking for one for years,” said Julie, “This table was built out of 100 year old wood and is eight feet long. I’ve always been into antiques.”

This year Judy went specifically looking for old treadle sewing machine bases – the kind with the wrought iron legs and a large pedal at the bottom. “I found three of them. I’m going to turn them into tables.” They also found a collection of old picture frames. They intend to insert a black board into one pretty one that will end up in some family’s home where messages or shopping list reminders can be displayed.

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Along with adding to their home décor, the girls like to redo and resell items they have purchased. They will be participating in the Fancy Flea Vintage Home & Garden Market event that takes place at Plant City Fairgrounds on November 2nd, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event will be held, rain or shine.

Similar smaller events like this have caught on in other states. There is Peaches to Beaches on Hwy. 341 in Georgia running from I-75 at Perry to I-95 at Brunswick; and Flea Across Florida which covers 270 miles from Live Oak to Pensacola.

All events have extensive web sites for more information: 127 Yard Sale: www.127yardsale.com; Flea Across Florida: www.thefleaacrossflorida.com; Peaches to Beaches: www.peachestobeaches.com.

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