They came from far and wide with an appetite for a deal and hungry to enjoy a taste of normal.
The 301 Endless Yard Sale returned on Friday after COVID-19 nixed the bargain hunter’s dream a year ago. The path of undiscovered treasures meandered through Dunn and continued onward toward Benson, attracting visitors from up and down the East Coast and the outer edges of North Carolina.
Clusters of vendors lined U.S. Highway 301 once outside the Dunn city limits as businesses turned parking lots into mini-outdoor shopping malls where people selling mementos replaced name brand stores. One hundred miles of yard sales in itself provided a reason to at least have a look, but after a year scarred by lockdowns and social distancing, getting out amongst others on a beautiful summer day proved plenty enough.
“I am so happy to be back,” Jack Parton said. “I drove here from Elkin, 150 miles, and I plan on spending the weekend. I’m going to get a hotel room, shop and do all the things I missed doing during COVID.”
Lavar and Janie Atkinson made the trip north from Camden, South Carolina, to visit the Endless Yard Sale, starting their trek in Dunn before making their way towards Virginia and back again.
“It’s really wonderful,” said Lavar Atkinson. “The weather is beautiful and we hope to see as much of it as we can. You never know what you’re going to find.”
Vendors set up and welcomed an eager crowd ready to see what they had. Dunn’s Gloria Pope arrived at Real Life Outreach Church at 6 a.m. Friday morning and barely had enough time to get ready before customers started showing up.
“They were getting (here) early, like right at 7 a.m.,” said Pope. “The crowd has been great.”
Arlene Orange traveled from Charleston for her second Endless Yard Sale trip and came ready to give people whatever of hers they wanted.
“We’re here to sell,” Orange said. “It’s been going really good. We’ve seen a great crowd of people. They’re coming out and we want them to buy. I don’t want to go home with anything. I know people are excited to be back.”
Rose Foushee from Erwin staked her claim not far from Orange and found there was plenty for everybody. As a veteran of previous Endless Yard Sales, Foushee said this year is proving to be better than average.
“We’ve had a good turnout and a good crowd,” said Foushee. “People are glad to get back out and buy and look.”
David Jones camped out in front of the Work Center unafraid to sell whatever he could, even if it meant walking home.
“They can make me an offer on all I’ve got,” Jones said. “I’ve got a deal of a lifetime, even the car I drove here in. This is my inheritance. Take it all. Everything is for sale.
“It’s been good. We’ve seen several people from out of state come by earlier. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Debbie Boyd and her husband Bill found out about the colossal yard sale a couple days ago while visiting her sister. The couple came from New Jersey and weren’t going to miss the chance to see what all of the excitement was about.
“The weather is beautiful,” said Debbie Boyd. “I’m having fun, the sales are great. Everybody should come out.”
Boyd’s sister, Debbie Kasper-Miems, moved to North Carolina with her husband from western New York after they retired and haven’t looked back.
“We’ve lived here for 5 years and we absolutely love it,” Kasper-Miems said. “This is awesome. This is the first year in 5 years we’ve been here that we even knew about it. We love yard-saling, so this is perfect.”
Unlike a year ago, Mother Nature showered the endless yard sale with sunshine, a cool breeze and clear skies, finally pushing thoughts of COVID-19 into the back of people’s minds.
Eliot Duke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 910-230-2038.