Long yard sales aim for Labor Day crowds

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If the words of Ecclesiastes are true, there is a time for everything. And weekends, especially Labor Day weekend, is the time for yard sales.

Getting a massive jump on sales are those living along U.S. 61 between Jackson and Bloomsdale, Mo. This evening they'll be ready to take cash for everything from collectibles to barbecue.

The 61-mile yard sale began in Fruitland three years ago. This year, organizers hoped for booths lining the streets around the courthouse in Jackson. But the death of Jackson Chamber of Commerce executive director Marybeth Williams changed that.

"We were going to try to sell some spaces around the courthouse, but we were not able to pull that together this year," said Cheryl Merkler, the chamber's executive assistant. "We're not going to be doing that this year, but we will be shooting for that next year."

Jonathan Khourie organizes the annual sale, with the help of friend Dan Barks. Khourie said he looks forward to including Jackson in next year's sale. As for this year, he said people can expect to find "a huge number of actual antiques, a lot of antique shops on the sale route. You don't see that along a lot of yard sales."

Merkler said she does plan on shopping the entire route Friday.

"I collect Disney memorabilia, so that's what I'll look for, and things for my grandchildren."

Among the spots that may take some time to get through is a four-family sale along with items being sold by Trinity Lutheran Church of Friedheim, on several acres owned by Linda and Vernon Schoen at 16783 U.S. 61, 11 miles north of Fruitland.

Along with children's clothes and toys, the family hopes to sell a wheelbarrow, a trailer, a Hammond organ and a "huge fish tank and stand," Linda Schoen said.

Visitors will also find a restroom and food -- Vernon will be barbecuing.

"We're getting Reis's meat," Linda Schoen said.

Meanwhile, Scott City Area Chamber of Commerce has produced a two-day, citywide yard sale, set for Friday and Saturday.

Maps can be picked up at city hall, 215 Chester Ave. or Paradise Flowers, 614 Second St. East.

"This year, 57 [homes] are participating that we know of, but a few more are probably doing it, too," said Tina Blattel, city collector.

Such large-scale sales help draw people into the city, she said.

"People stop for gas or lunch and see the town," she said.

Starting Friday morning and continuing through Saturday afternoon, anyone traveling along Route T between U.S. 60 and Route D will encounter the Lake Wappapello 25-Mile Yard Sale.

Cathy Rataj, one of the organizers, said shoppers often show up at 7 a.m. She expects "good food and hopefully nice weather."

The Corps of Engineers is offering free permits to people to set up booths at Lake Wappapello's visitors center. Park ranger John Daves said the arrangement was one way the corps was "being part of the community," For visitor center permit details, call 573-222-8562.

For details on the 61-mile yard sale, visit www.61yardsale.com.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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