By Gene Stanley/Correspondent
Are you looking for a sack of potatoes? Maybe an antique to finish your set? How about a quilt? Perhaps just a salt and pepper shaker set?
Chances are you can find these items and any others you may or may not need next weekend (Aug. 1-4) at the 26th annual World’s Longest Yard Sale, or the 127 Corridor Sale, as the event is now officially known.
It’s time to either gather your belongings in hopes of making a few dollars or to get in your car and look for treasures. Or both.
With the event being a four-day sale, there is definitely time to do both.
“I’ve never tried to drive it and sell in the same year,” Gadsden resident Jim Blalock said. “But it is something that could easily be done. We’ve sold most years but there have been a couple of years when we loaded up the truck and drove to Cincinnati and shopped our way back to Gadsden.
“We enjoyed that. We shopped until we got to Jamestown (Tenn.) where we spent the night and started again the next morning. The whole trip was a blast and I’d love to go all the way to Michigan sometime and work our way back.”
As usual, the sale officially starts at Noccalula Falls and winds its way to Addison, Michigan. The sale is now 690 miles long.
The Lookout Mountain Parkway Association asked to be included in the sale route a few years after the sale began.
On Aug. 3, there will be a lot of entertainment in Jamestown, Tenn., with the 18th annual Jamestown Jamboree. Music and a car show highlight the jamboree.
Since it is August, don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and other summer essentials. There will be drinks for sale at many of the vendors, but you may bring your own.
Here in Alabama, the sale starts at the falls and winds its way up Tabor Road (Lookout Mountain Parkway). When the parkway ends in Chattanooga, Tenn., the sale picks up on U.S. 127 and follows that route all the way to Michigan.
“We really haven’t talked about extending the route any longer, north or south,” said Walt Page, executive director of the Fentress County (Tenn.) Chamber of Commerce, which is officially in charge of the event. “Down there (in Alabama), the Lookout Mountain Parkway people have been really loyal to us, and if we were to extend it further south, it might take away from them, and that’s something we don’t want to do.
“So if we ever add again, it’ll probably be to add a few more communities up in Michigan.”
There is now an addition in Alabama, called the “127 Connect.” This sale follows Ala. Highway 77 South to Lineville, where you turn go into Alexander City.
“That’s not a part of the World’s Longest Yard Sale,” said Hugh Stump, executive director of Greater Gadsden Tourism Board.
“We have a great hook to be able to say the sale starts (or ends) in Gadsden. I see no reason for it to go farther south.”
Stump noted that if the sale went on through Gadsden and down Hwy. 77, there are very few places to even locate a yard sale because of lack of road shoulders.
“We’ve had groups in Florida call and want to take the sale all the way down there,” Stump said. “But the reason the original sale works is that it is all on one road.”
Besides the yard sale money coming in, there is a lot more money made in motels and convenience stores for those four days.
“We see an increase of somewhere in the range of 25-30 percent, I would guess,” said Scott Martin, a manager of the Kangaroo gas station and convenience store located at the bottom of Noccalula Road. “We have to make sure we’re loaded up on candy, drinks and other snack items that people would buy if they’re coming off the sale or headed to the sale.”
The original intent of the sale was to prove the back roads have something to offer, and that the interstate system was not the only mode for travel. County officials put together a list of attractions along the route in Kentucky and Tennessee.
There are over 300 attractions along the route to provide enjoyment for the family. Whether it be majestic hills, beautiful scenery, riverboats, railroads, toe-tapping music, arts, crafts, horses, fishing, hiking, or bits of Civil War or Indian history, there are many opportunities to enjoy the beauty and culture of the land along the 127 Sale Route.