100-Mile Yard Sale attracts tourism to Southeast Missouri
Thursday, May 26, 2011
From an old car transmission to an antique Shirley Temple doll, Ellen Lowe, the Bloomfield, Mo., woman who started the 100-Mile Yard Sale, said there are plenty of gems to find along the 100-mile trail.
This Memorial Day weekend, starting Thursday and continuing through Monday, the 13th Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale will line Highway 25 from Jackson through Dutchtown, Delta, Advance, Bloomfield, Dexter, Bernie, Malden and Campbell, to name a few, finally ending in Kennett.
"You don't know what you're going to find at a yard sale -- one man's junk is another man's treasure," Lowe said.
Belonging to a family of "collectors," Lowe and her late husband were always on a hunt. She said they traveled most of the United States in their motorhome frequently stopping at yard sales, flea markets and antique shops. Her most treasured collected items include crackled glass and Kennedy memorabilia.
They also attended the 127 Corridor Sale, a yard sale which primarily follows State Highway 127 beginning in Hudson, Mich., and ending in Gadsden, Ala., according to its website.
Lowe said she thought, "You know, Highway 25 would be a good place to bring people to our part."
She, along with her daughter, went from Jackson to Kennett along Highway 25, stopping at every country house, auction and flea market handing out fliers indicating the event. She also sent letters to antique stores around the U.S. announcing the 100-Mile Yard Sale. She said the feedback was immediately very positive and people were "on cloud nine" regarding the event.
"They came from all over the United States -- I even had a woman come from England," she said.
After the first year, Janet Coleman, executive director of the Dexter Chamber of Commerce, contacted Lowe to help expand the event in efforts to boost tourism in the area.
Coleman said they took Lowe's prospective mailing list and continued adding to it. Currently there are about 1,000 individuals on the list that is sent to over 20 states, as far away as Alaska.
The Dexter chamber serves as the coordinating chamber for the event. Other cosponsors include the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Kennett Chamber of Commerce.
"I could see the opportunity that it really would create," Coleman said. "All in all, it just brings people to the community."
Darlene Shelton, coordinator for the yard sale setup at Living Water Worship Center in Bloomfield, said vendors can set up on the grassy area in front of the church for $35 per day.
The church will be opened selling breakfast, lunch, snacks and also allowing travelers access to the bathrooms. All of the money the church collects from the event will go into its mission funds and local flood victim relief.
Shelton said this will be the second year for the church to participate in the event. Last year, they had over 1,000 visitors a day.
"We were amazed by the amount of people," she said. "We just had no concept that there would be that many human beings on the property."
For more information about the event visit www.25yardsale.com.