Local residents seeking bargains or unrealized treasures can hunt all they want along a major highway. The 18th annual Great U.S 50 Yard Sale is May 19 to 21.
Now often called the “Nation’s Yard Sale,” The Great U.S 50 Yard Sale began in Jennings County in 2000. Because U.S. 50 spans Jennings County, the initial idea was to encourage residents to have their yard sales all on the same day along U.S. 50, which would encourage visitors to the county.
“The local tourism board wanted to start a project to bring visitors into the county and we thought this would be a way to get all of our citizens involved in a way that would benefit every one. None of us had any idea of how this thing was going to go but it is an established event now,” said Jennings County resident Tom Taylor, who helped start the annual event.
U.S. 50 is one of the longest highways in the nation, stretching more than 3,000 miles from Maryland to California. The idea of having yard sales along U.S 50 on the same day quickly spread to adjoining counties and then the idea soon spread to adjoining states. The Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale is conducted every year on the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.
Participation varies from state-to-state and from year-to-year, but several states — Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Nevada, Colorado and Kansas — are consistent in their participation, Taylor said.
“One year they sat up a bid sale right on the boarder of Nevada and Utah. A lot depends on the weather. If it’s good weather, it will be a good year. One thing is for sure, somewhere along that 3,000 mile stretch of highway it will rain on that weekend,” Taylor said.
Participation in the yard sale is open to individuals, business and civic organizations. Craft vendors are among those encouraged to participate. No formal registration is required to participate.
All anyone has to do to participate is set up a table or booth on property along or near U.S. 50. However, permission is required for the use of private property. No booths or merchandise will be allowed on the roadway or on right-of-way road spaces. And all local laws must be followed.
“Disorganization is a part of the concept. It’s the basis of capitalism. As long as the buyer and the seller are both happy it’s good,” Taylor said.
The Jennings County Public Library is joining the fun of the Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale even though its event won’t be located on the highway.
It will host an indoor yard sale as a means to raise funds for library programming.
The sale will be open to the public, rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 19 and 20 at the library, 2375 State Road 3 North in North Vernon.
Booth space is available to rent for $10 per 10-foot x 10-foot space. Bring your own table, or rent a 4-foot table for $5 or a 6-foot round or rectangle table for $10. Limited space available. Call 812-346-2091.
“We encourage all kinds of organizations to do this. You don’t have to be right on U.S. 50 to join in the fun and, in the past, it has been a great way for civic groups to raise money,” event organizer Tom Taylor said.
For more information: route50.com or email@example.com.