Amazing Find! World’s Longest Yard Sale


Yard Sale doesn’t do this justice. Sure there are individuals that line Highway 127 selling typical garage sale stuff, and there are flea market vendors selling socks and barbies BUT there are also loads of great vintage and antique venders selling awesomeness!!

Dan and Kami (my brother and his wife) have been going for 3 years and have been telling me so. I get great gifts from them at Christmas and they say WLYS!! You should have gone.  It doesn’t fall at the best time for me with our anniversary the 1st and the boys usually starting school the next week but the stars alined this year and I was able to go.

Equipped with cash, bug spray, sunscreen, wicking clothes on, hair in ponytail, bags, boxes, packing stuff, snacks, hotel reservations and my dad, we meet our “tour guides” and head off to the rolling hills of Tennessee.

I was out of cash by lunch.

I found an ATM and sent this text to hubby. “Yes I did just get more money out!!!”

The vendors came from all over. I found the vendor that I buy mother of pearl buttons from at Inman Park Festival in Atlanta. There are a lot of dealers that do fleamarkets but there are individuals too. The prices vary wildly! So you have to know your stuff. There are deals to be made. I found at least 4 dealers that I could have spent the better part of the day going thru their stuff. Glass cases full of small treasures to be discovered again. Boxes of letters, pictures, postcards and the like to be thumbed through. I needed to be cloned to get through it all.

The sellers are characters too. They love what they do, such knowledge to share and stories to tell. The sweet sisters that had treasures abounding in their victorian looking booth, oohed over my purchases as if seeing them for the first time. I bought a tiny pair of scissors and they tried them out before wrapping them up in turquoise bags.

We caught the bottle man just before he left for home. Dan had bought from him before. Repeat customers and their friends are welcomed and get extra good deals. The bottle man told us about digging up the bottles between two train tracks in Chattanooga and how each layer they dug brought a new decade of glass. He showed pictures of them digging the bottles. They were 15 feet under with bottles all around them. He had a wonderful collection of bottles. I bought many lavender bottles from him. He told us about how some bottles are made lavender and what date they were and some turn lavender because of the minerals in the soil. He was one of my favorites.

I loved the vintage jewelry lady from Atlanta who taught me how to age pins by the clasp, and the Ohio vendor who had an eclectic collection, I could still be going through, and the awesome birdhouse builder from Chattanooga. His birdhouses are so creative! I bought the green one with the pitchfork base. He hand-makes each one unique and never repeats it. Country Creek Relics.

In Clarkrange, TN, lost in a maze of tents and people, I came upon a large group picture framed and on an easel just outside a large booth. I looked at the picture and it said, “General Shoe Corporation Gallatin Plant #2 May 30, 1946”. Kevin’s granddad worked at the shoe factory in Gallatin his whole life!! I quickly text Kevin to ask if his granddad worked in 1946. Luckily I had cell phone coverage and he said yes. I waited patiently for the vendor to finish selling a crazy quilt, while standing guard over my prize, when the sweet older couple became available I told them my story.

They were from Gallatin. They knew some people in the picture. I asked them if they knew Henry Key from South Tunnel. They didn’t. I asked if they knew any of his daughters? They knew Sandra! We started talking and exchanging stories about Sandra, South Tunnel and Gallatin. I had them write their name on the back of the picture and took their picture. I left holding my gem. Excited about my find. What are the chances I would find such a picture in the middle of a field in Clarkrange?  Others were curious too and as I carried it under my arm many stopped and asked me about my picture. I never tired of telling the story.

When I got home I cleaned up the picture and we took it down to Kevin’s parents house. Pat had the magnifing glass out waiting. She said her older sister, Joy Muriel worked at the factory too during that time. They bent over looking at the picture and Mike spotted Mr. Key right away. He is on the end so we can see his whole person. Relief…he is in the picture. Pat talked to Joy Muriel and she said you can only see the top of her head. She lives in Indianapolis now but next time they gather in South Tunnel Pat will bring the picture and they can look at it together. There are 250 people pictured in front of the factory, neighbors, family, friends, a whole community gathered. I’m glad I went to Clarkrange.

Then there is the odd….

You could buy a rootbeer float in the back of this firetruck. Funny!  Speaking of food…. fried pies. Dad and I each tried an apple and apriot fried pie. They were delicious. Homemade yummy!

Hubby wanted to hear from us with all funny stories so I included photos to go along with them! We laughed a lot. My brother is funny. My dad also provides us with good material.

I heard tidibits of conversations that were funny. One lady was looking at some cookware. She said she had 3 boys and a husband and the country “salesman” said, “your gonna die, crying, holding a chicken”. She said, yeah.

Heard from a vendor, “Look us up, we are the redneck chefs”

Heard from a shopper, “They are serving up a bowl of pinto beans and cornbread?” and her friend said, “I say that sounds mighty good to me”

Heard from another shopper, “This is my second trip to the car.” I looked to see what she was carrying and it was a huge artificial plant. This made me laugh.

This sequened wedding dress hanging in the cedar tree caught my attention. As I took a picture a country boy seated on the tailgate of his pickup said I’ll make you a good deal on that dress, standing beside him was his very pregnant wife. Lots of things flashed through my mind none of them having to do with why I originally took the picture.

Kevin and I were recently driving the country side and came upon a flea market and I begged him to stop. It was really a bad flea market but you never know. But anyway as we are walking down the long dark building looking at the wares people have set out Kevin said, “I’m sure we are in a chicken house”. I had to laugh. He has said often that only certain people go looking for buttons in places like this. True but it can be said about the people who sell their “buttons” here too. We are a compatible group of people. I really like the vendors, I like their stories, I like to dicker with them, they like to share their knowledge, I like to hear it. We make a fine partnership and a happy transaction in the end.

I got this from my dad. He likes this sort of stuff too. We stuck together pretty good but occasionally “I got lost”. He sought out some good booths for me, I found some things that I thought mom would like. He waited patiently while I sorted through countless vintage pins and I helped him count out 90 marbles. We had a great time together. Down to my last $26 I had to borrow money from him to buy the birdhouse, then we called it a day. No ATM’s on Signal Mountain. On the way home I asked my dad what his favorite find was and he said it was spending time with his daughter.

I will go to the WYLS from now on. I will have a count down like my brother. He started texting me countdown days 6 months ago. I will be a repeat customer now.

We made a slight detour and followed a sign that said “Barn Loft Sale”. This is my next post. Thanks for reading. Would love to hear feedback. Katey

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6 thoughts on “Amazing Find! World’s Longest Yard Sale

  1. You always make me feel like I was right there with you! I have to tell you that when we made our trip to Kentucky..All the barns and fields we drove past I thought about you every single time!!!!!! I would think….Katey would like this and take a picture!!!!! Thanks for making me see things through your eyes!!!!!!!!! :)

  2. Agree with the person above. You describe it all so well that I can see you there sorting through and negotiating. I am not an antique person or a craft person but maybe I will become one. I do enjoy reading each post!

  3. What a fantastic trip – and with your DAD – you will remember this always!! There were times I laughed (all those hands) and times I cried – especially the story of the picture. I worked at General Shoe in 1954 here in Huntsville! I love how you write – you should get a job with some magazine! You could be a pulitizer winner~ Thanks for sharing – I want to go next time too.

  4. girl, you know how envious i am on ALL counts! my favorite part of the story was your dad’s comment at the end. lump in throat here, in colorado. how blessed you are to have those days together, having fun in the throes of The Search.
    maybe one of these years i can plan a road trip with you. i really want that. love, n

  5. Katey, what a fun time! I spent several such days with Mother. And one Mississippi event “Vardaman Sweet Potato Festival” with Daddy. Such good memories. Always, the people are more entertaining that TV or movies. And the “stuff” is just that–but like the General Shoe picture, some of the stuff becomes treasure. You must consider getting my mother’s book: http://www.publishingdesigns.com/show_book.php?isbn=9780929540689

    Love, Peggy

  6. what a great blog!! i loved reading about it…even after hearing tons of stories from mike and from all of you a dan’s last monday night. love the pictures, too. reading and hearing all about your adventures and your purchases is much better than me being there…hot, hot, hot, sweaty, tired, and so impatient to go back to the car!! i’m not a good yard saler!! but i love those of you who are!!

Thank you for your comments. Love to hear what you have to say!