World’s Longest Yard Sale returns

Watch for cars and trucks along Lookout Mountain Parkway as the World's Longest Yard Sale returns for another bargain treasure hunt. 

Drivers should use caution this week as the World’s Longest Yard Sale returns tomorrow and lasts through Sunday. The event, also known as the “127 yard sale”, runs 690 miles through six states from Gadsden to Addison, Michigan.

John Dersham is President and CEO of the DeKalb Tourism. He said his office distributes thousands of brochures each year from people interested in experiencing the event while hundreds more learn what they’ll find locally on the web. He encourages people coming from the south to start at Noccalula Falls and make the scenic drive along the Lookout Mountain Parkway.

“That’s literally where it starts, and by the time they get to us, they’re hungry or wanting to get a hotel room or cabin,” Dersham said. “We tell yard sale enthusiasts about Little River Canyon National Preserve, the Canyon Center and the Canyon Rim Drive. We encourage them to enjoy DeSoto State Park, the waterfalls and our quaint mountain town of Mentone, all in route.”

The local portion starts on Highway 176, connecting to Highway 89 on Dogtown Road SE from Cherokee County, passing through Dogtown, crossing Alabama Highway 35 onto DeSoto Parkway NE, twisting and turning along the mountain brow between Fort Payne and Mentone, taking a sharp turn onto Highway 117 in the heart of downtown Mentone, and continuing on to Cloudland, Ga. Popular spots for vendors to congregate include the intersection of AL 176 and AL 68 in Collinsville and between County Roads 297 and 115 in Fort Payne.

Fort Payne Mayor Brian Baine said the event has a “big impact on our community, bringing people from out of town. They buy gas, eat in our restaurants and our hotels are usually full with folks that come just to shop the World’s Longest Yard Sale. It also gives our citizens the opportunity to show folks what small town living is all about with our courtesy and hospitality.”

Over the four-day period, about 35,000 people are expected to pass through DeKalb County specifically for this event. That’s a lot of cars and trucks pulled over to look for treasures to carry home. Some people tow trailers to make sure they have enough room to carry home the furniture, antiques and collectibles they find along the way.

The World’s Longest Yard Sale started in 1987 in Fentress County, Tenn. as a way of encouraging travelers to drive scenic routes that would take them through rural communities and allow them to experience what the small towns and cities along the way had to offer.

Dersham said yard sales are a uniquely generational phenomenon.

“Baby Boomers created the flea market thing, and before that, it was just your old stuff. It became valuable to collect. A lot of Boomers are now realizing as we get older that we have a lot of things that our kids and grandkids don’t necessarily want to inherit, so you may be able to find some real good bargains,” he said.

The World’s Longest Yard Sale should not be mistaken for the Antique Alley Yard Sale, which happens along U.S. Highway 11 from Mississippi to Virginia each third weekend in May. Dersham said the founders of that event aren’t promoting it anymore but private property owners along the route continue advertising it because they want to continue being able to lease space to people for booths.

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