This year’s sale was held Thursday, Aug. 2 through Friday, Aug. 5, and didn’t disappoint!
June Kilgore along with friends, Betty Kelly and Charlotte Platt made the trip from Dothan, Ala. to shop this year’s sales. They are first time attendees.
“We are both vendors in one of the local antique malls in our city,” said Kilgore. “So far, I have found several things of interest, I just wish I had a truck. I cannot take home what I would like to buy, so we would have to rent a trailer to take it back.”
“There are things of interest that I know my clients would like for the beach, coastal living condos and things like that,” said Kilgore. “Just southern fare.”
Stan and Andrea Garrard from Odenville have been selling their goods in the World’s Longest Outdoor Sale for the past eight years.
Andrea initially came to the United States as an exchange student from Hungary, Stan said.
“She never knew anything about antiques 10 years ago,” laughed Stan. “Now I can’t keep her away from yard sales. We come every year, wouldn’t miss it.”
As in the past, they were amazed by the people who turn out and how far they will travel to participate in the sale, Stan said.
“We had some from New Zealand here yesterday,” said Stan. “The flew all the way from New Zealand to shop this thing. They advertise it on HG TV, 127 countries. People from all over the world fly in because you have antiques here you can’t buy in other countries. They are collecting stuff they only sell here. Last year we had two ladies from England and their accents were so strong, I couldn’t understand a word they said.”
“We get them from Australia, from France, Africa,” said Andrea. “People come from California all of the time.”
“We have had them from Switzerland, Belgium,” said Stan. “We had a couple from Arizona Tuesday. They drove 2,000 miles to shop it. They said it was on their bucket list to shop the world’s largest yard sale.”
“And we always get a call about t-shirts saying ‘I survived the World’s Longest Yard Sale,”’ said Andrea.
Stan and Andrea estimated that it would be impossible for anyone to see all the vendors along the 650-mile route of the sale. Although some may have tried!
Some of the items Stan and Andrea hawked this year included marbles, vintage costume jewelry, glassware, table cloths, quilts and more.
“A lot of the old timers come by and look at these marbles and it brings back memories from the 1920s and 1930s when they were kids,” noted Stan. “They would say, ‘you know, now-a-days all kids want to do is sit it front of a television with a remote control. They don’t get out and wear their blue jeans out by playing marbles like we did when we were kids.’ A man here earlier said he got in more fights when he was a kid over shooting marbles than he’d ever been in in his life.”
“Last year we had a lot of people here from Oregon, Washington, California,” said Stan. “They come here and buy them and sell them out there and get bigger prices. In California, you can get them 10 times what you can here.”
Stan and Andrea planned to remain selling throughout the duration of the event.
“We have been here since Tuesday,” said Stan. “Wednesday there weren’t too many people. Today it has picked up a lot. Today is the actual start day. But we have done well up here every year. That is why we keep coming back for more.”
Ed Robertson from Opelika was a returning regular this year. He brought with him several items for sale but his specialty is cypress.
“I have swings, chairs, rockers,” said Robertson. Cypress is my specialty because it lasts so long.”
“I have some boiled peanuts but they are high because of the drought,” said Robertson.
Robertson said he arrived Thursday morning to se up for the sale.
“It is better today than it has been,” said Robertson. “I saw some folks from Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Ohio, there have been people from here and there and a lot of Alabama people. I am sure before it is over with we will meet people from everywhere.”
“This is my fifth year to participate,” said Robertson. “It is just hot. I wish they would they would do it in September, but that is the way it goes.”
Sherri Thorp of Florida and Mike Potter who has a home in Menlo, were among the many shoppers at this year’s sales.
Sherri’s parents also visited from Washington.
“We are just out enjoying the event,” said Sherri. “There is plenty of variety among the things being sold.”
“We went to the very beginning of the sale, got lost and came back here,” laughed Mike. “But it is going pretty good so far.”
Andy Fancher maintained the spot he has maintained for the past three years on Alabama Highway 176.
“I don’t think we were prepared for this much traffic,” said Fancher. “It is a lot better this year than last year. Last year the rain knocked us out and this year, the weather is helping a lot.”
Fancher gave his estimates on the traffic he observed.
“I would say it is probably 50-50,” said Fancher. “I am seeing as many out of state people as our locals, looking at the tags.”
“We just basically have household items and tools,” said Fancher. “That is what we have sold the most.”
“This is the second year we have come,” said Frances Collins of Attalla. “We cut across to Akins Furniture and come on up. We are just looking to see what they’ve got.”
Kenneth and Tim Cochran came from Cleburne County, where they operate a flea market, to vend in this year’s sale.
“We try to have something for everybody,” said Tim. “We have seen 63 vehicles in here so far this morning, from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and other places.”