First day of 100-Mile Yard Sale brings out unusual items

Friday, May 23, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ Emma Kimbrel glanced through pots and pans Thursday during the first day of the 100-Mile Yard Sale along Highway 25 in Bloomfield. Deals stretch from Jackson to Kennett, Mo.

Leah Shaw of Jackson has the perfect gift for that person you just can't stand. It's a hat shaped like a pile of dung with flies that hover around it.

"I told my father, 'Nobody's going to pay $5 for that hat," Shaw said. "And he said, 'Well, I did.'"

Gary Moran, a resident of Gordonville, had a box of plungers out for sale on a lot in Dutchtown.

"One lady bought eight," he said. "I told her, 'I don't want to go to your house!'"

RVs, power boats, vinyl records, puppies, latex paint conditioner, saddles, tire rims, cell phones, an electric wheelchair and home pregnancy tests were just some of the peculiar items on sale during the first day of the 10th annual 100-Mile Yard Sale on Thursday.

"You never know what you'll find," said Chasity Ruehling, who drove from Perryville, Mo., to the event.

But bizarre items were not the only reason thousands of people defied ominous skies and high fuel prices to attend the sale; most came just to enjoy some family fun and, of course, look for deals.

"We just try to enjoy the day, look for bargains," Ruehling said. "We also set up, try to get rid of some plunder."

Ruehling brought her son, Gabe, 8, who spent his time looking at 75-cent Hot Wheels cars to add to his collection.

"These Hot Wheels are really cool," Gabe said. "I like Hot Wheels; I collect Hot Wheels."

The yard sale's draw extended not just to local residents but also to other Missouri residents and even some out-of-state travelers.

Dorothy Dennis, who was on a road trip from Slater, near Kansas City, to see her daughter in Niceville, Fla., planned her vacation to incorporate the yard sale. She and her husband stopped in Delta and happened upon some Conway Twitty records.

"I'm finding a few treasures," she said. "We're having a great time."

One man drove 600 miles from Texas to arrive for the morning of sales, according to Jill Schmidt of Frohna, who set up her sale outside of Jackson on Highway 25.

Vendors, too, were a mixed crowd. Some were local families who set up shop outside their homes while others drove from other parts of the state as dealers to rent a spot and sell their goods.

Chester Kneir and his wife, Shirley, drove from Crane, Mo., to set up at the corner of Route K and Highway 25 in Gordonville. Kneir sells new tools from Sears Holdings Corp. at half-price.

At a home in Gordonville, six families decided to join forces and put on a joint yard sale. They had their first customers at 6:15 a.m.

"We're just getting things cleaned out," said Peggy Smith, one of the family members. "We do it every year. We say we're not going to do it again, but we do."

High fuel prices worried a few vendors over whether people would turn out for the day.

"It's a little on the dead side," said Barry Eggimann, referring to morning sales outside his home in Jackson. "We don't know if it's because of fuel."

The Kneir family spent more than $400 in fuel to transport their items for sale from the southwest Missouri town of Crane and worried that buyers might have a similar problem.

For buyers, however, fuel did not seem to be a factor in their decision.

"No," said Terri Oringderff when asked whether fuel prices affected her decision. Oringderff drove from her home near Columbia, Mo., after she learned about the yard sale on the Internet last week.

Ruehling said, "It's decreased our driving, but not to come to this. This weekend, it's not going to stop us."

Barbecue, hot dogs, lemonade and cookies were also on sale at many of the yard sales along Highway 25. Children at Shaw's yard sale, where the dung hat was for sale, were selling lemonade and cookies for quarters. Last year they made more than $80 just selling food.

At least one group of vendors was using the yard sale as an opportunity to raise money for charitable purposes. The Rev. Dan Chaney and his congregation set up a yard sale for their second year outside of the nondenominational Lakeside Worship Center in Gordonville. The church community gives 10 percent of its funds to missions and another 10 percent to its benevolent fund to help community members in need; the rest is used for general maintenance of the church.

The yard sale will continue through Monday, Memorial Day, and stretches the length of Highway 25 from Jackson to Kennett, Mo.

335-6611, extension 197

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