What is the World's Longest Yard Sale?
The World's Longest Yard Sale takes place for four days in early August every year along a stretch of US Route 127 from Alabama to Michigan, a distance of more than 650 miles. Known also as the “127 Corridor Sale,” or simply the “127 Sale,” it has its own website and a host of official items, such as yard signs, vendor aprons and folding tables. Headquartered in Jamestown, Tenn., the World's Longest Yard Sale was started in 1987 as a way to reintroduce America to its back roads and small towns.
Yard sales &emdash; also called garage, tag, attic, household, moving, junk or rummage sales &emdash; are very popular in the United States. Typically, a family will put up for sale household items, from clothing and furniture to appliances and electronics, that are still serviceable but that they no longer want or need. Generally, they set everything out on their front lawn or in the driveway, most commonly on one or both weekend days. Prices are often negotiable, and a great deal of bargaining typically occurs at yard sales. Families will post advertising signs throughout the neighborhood and on nearby thoroughfares and place classified ads in print and online media, and then sit by their goods and wait for the traffic to come.
Yard sales are conducted for different reasons, such as clearing out space in the home, raising extra money, or as a way to interact with others and perhaps make some new friends. The World's Longest Yard Sale was established along a part of Route 127 in Tennessee that had lost a great deal of traffic to the nearby interstate highways 75 and 40. Its organizers wanted to lure Americans off the interstates and back to back-roads America, and counted on the popularity of yard sales to give travelers incentive to take the detour.
Just as conducting a yard sale is very popular, visiting and shopping at yard sales is likewise enormously popular. In the southeast United States, participants and shoppers alike in the World's Longest Yard Sale clear the calendar for the four-day period starting with the first Thursday in August. Antique dealers and collectors of every stripe visit the sale, as do passersby and members of the local communities. As with the World's Longest Yard Sale, other neighborhood-wide and even town-wide yard sales have become well-established traditions in many places, and residents and visitors plan their schedules around these events. I
The World's Longest Yard Sale, like other similarly organized group yard sales, has expanded beyond individuals selling household items. Independent vendors commonly petition for inclusion, necessitating rules and organization. When independent vendors become involved, the range of items available generally expands significantly, and organizers will also reach out for vendors to sell food and beverages. In addition to the usual collection of household goods, shoppers at the World's Longest Yard Sale can count on farm-fresh produce, arts and crafts items, and plenty of old-fashioned country cooking.
Although many states do not regulate or tax yard sales, some jurisdictions require that vendors of food and beverages be licensed and inspected for sanitation and hygiene practices, and some will also require that those conducting yard sales purchase a permit. The operators of the World's Longest Yard Sale offer complete information about the permits required to operate at any point in the sale.
Anyone considering having a garage sale should try to get other people involved. Several of the communities near where I live have group garage sales regularly. When shoppers have a large number of sales to visit in the same location there are likely to be many more buyers than you have at a lone garage sale.
It is so convenient when you can park your car in one neighborhood and then walk to several different houses and search for items you need or just browse and see what pops out at you.
I have never stopped at any of the yard sales associated with the world's longest yard sale, but I have seen some smaller versions of this event. My husband and I were driving along the east coast of the U.S. I don't remember the exact highway or road numbers.
However, we came upon a series of yard sales and we thought this was impressive when we drove for a couple miles and continued to see them. You can imagine how impressed we were when we covered parts of three states before we passed the final yard sale.
This was really neat. However, the traffic was terrible and in some places the lack of parking space made driving and avoiding other cars and pedestrians a bit of a challenge.
This largest yard sale sounds like a great idea for helping small town economies. Most people don't give much thought to the impact interstates have had and continue to have on small towns. This is certainly not something that I had even considered, but reading this article makes me think of all of the small towns that I see when I visit my grandmother.
Years ago, these towns were thriving because so many people traveling through the state had to use the roads that run through these towns. Now, these towns are dying because they are not on the beaten path anymore.
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