Annual yard sale fills streets with shoppers

West Virginia’s Largest Yard Sale brought shoppers to the streets of two local counties Friday.

Many people looking for a great deal left their homes to see what hidden gems or great prices they might find among the dozens of yard sales that stretched across Lewis and Upshur counties.

At the Buckhannon City Council meeting Thursday, Recorder Rich Clemens asked the public to donate any usable items, that could not be sold during the annual yard sale event, to charity organizations like the Salvation Army and the Parish House. He said that it is better to donate the items than to throw them out.

“I think people really enjoy the yard sale chaos,” Upshur Convention and Visitor’s Bureau executive director Laura Meadows said Thursday. “I say chaos in a good way, because it’s so fun to see people pouring through the streets, looking for a good bargain, and enjoying the yard sale atmosphere.”

Many residential streets were packed with cars and shoppers. Some shoppers said they were in town and did not know about the yard sale event until they saw it happening. Others made plans for a day or weekend of shopping.

“We usually make a list. What we’re looking for is like a scavenger hunt,” Michelle Strader of Eden said.

While the hunt for one specific type of item was on her mind, Carol Bodkins of Philippi said she was browsing through everything she saw.

“I’m hunting for jigsaw puzzles, but I’m looking at everything. I might find something else I like,” Bodkins said.

Some yard sale hosts reported they had a steady stream of customers all day.

“We’ve been busy all day. There’s not really been a time when there has not been somebody here,” said Weston resident Janie McWhorter, who shared a yard for the weekend with her grandmother in Buckhannon.

While some hosts shared their yards with family and friends, some businesses shared property with various hosts. Don Henderson, the owner of the Buckhannon Antique Mall, said that sharing his parking area and lawn with others benefited his business as well as the sellers.

“There’s a lot of visibility,” Henderson said. “It’s an easy place to get in and out, park and walk around to see several (yard sales) at the same time.”

He allowed about 12 sellers to set up for free at his shop location on the Clarksburg Road. He said some of those sellers deal antiques in his shop, but others may simply be at a disadvantage in selling their wares at home because they live “off the beaten path.”

Henderson said that allowing a larger number of sellers created a variety of the items available in one general location. He said he saw a deep-sea diving apparatus while browsing through the items, and he even bought something from one of the sellers.

“There’s some neat stuff out there,” Henderson said.

Many of the sellers who occupied Henderson’s property for the weekend said they were very grateful for his generosity.

“I think it’s a pretty nice area to do it in. It’s convenient, and everybody has a place to park,” Shirleene Bulka of Hodgesville said.

The yard sales seemed to be a success for some hosts throughout the day.

“We made about $150 before noon,” Deidra Casto of Buckhannon said.

As items continued to sell, family members kept searching for more of them to add from inside the house, Casto added.

Casto said she met shoppers who traveled from as far away as North Carolina. Other shoppers came from many locations around West Virginia, and still others drove in from surrounding states.

“It’s pretty intriguing. Some of the older stuff, I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. It’s decent stuff,” said Josh Calvin, who traveled from Midland, Va.