by yardsalers.net and bidbits stringer Jeff Wilson
I attend yard sales as much to meet people as to buy things, and today was a banner day in that regard�and also for finding things which, while I don�t need them, I sure as heck wanted. At eight o�clock in the morning I was holding a conga up in front of a woman and asking her what she wanted for it. When she said ten dollars I grabbed my wallet. A few blocks later I saw four matching Electro-voice speakers marked two bucks each. It�s odd enough to see two such speakers for sale, but four? I had to ask, as I handed the woman eight dollars, if there was a quadraphonic receiver somewhere that I�d overlooked, but she assured me there wasn�t.
This was in Northside, with 127 running right through the heart of it. Northside is a seller�s paradise � people flock to the sales, and their interests are so broad that a lot of money changes hands. It also works out well for shoppers. Northside has a great mix of people�young hipster married couples buying their first houses, working class blacks and whites who in many cases grew up there, gays, lesbians, etc. Surprises abound�and good vibes. At one sale Priscilla played classic old R&B records on her stereo while I was digging through 45s, and she was nice enough to pose for a photo.
Next I headed south. After some sales in the Main Strasse neighborhood in Covington, Kentucky, the world�s longest yard sale picks up again about ten miles later, near Florence, Kentucky. Although it was the third day of the sale, traffic was still bumper to bumper in many areas. Parking was not only difficult, it was potentially dangerous, especially when traveling to and from your car.
But it was worth it. On the third day of the sale I saw more interesting things on the lawns of the homes I visited than at the early end of most sales when I headed north. In some boxes of records that quite possibly hundreds of people had picked through I found a sealed copy of a record by a poet and peace activist from the late sixties named Daniel Berrigan.
So often record buyers are looking for the Beatles, Kiss and Elvis that they ignore a record that�s extremely rare (I didn�t even know it existed) and collectible, which means the world�s longest sale is still worth visiting on the third day. (It�s also worth noting that because of their jobs many people don�t set up until Saturday). Asking who had owned the record, I ended up meeting a man who had attended the civil rights marches in Mississippi in 1964. Even if I had found nothing, that would have made it worth the trip.
Sales were clustered so close together on 127 that I rarely drove more than a quarter of a mile before I saw another sale. The sales off the main drag were also worth visiting. At one sale where I asked for records an older man led me into a barn where I blew the dust off some jazz and country 78s on the Gannett and Okeh labels and some 45s from Cincinnati, which are of great interest to me.
So, my advice to fellow yard salers: hit the main drag, it�s worth it; but also go off the beaten path.
If you�re headed south from Cincinnati on the World�s Longest Yard Sale, one of the nice things is that getting home is easy. At mid-afternoon I decided I�d had it. Asking directions, I was told that if I turn left on one cemetery and left at the other cemetery, that would take me to I-75 North.
It worked, but I wasn�t done. Late in the afternoon on the third day of the sale, the Main Strasse district in Covington was still hopping, with shoppers everywhere. As you may have guessed, I shop mostly for records, and classic rock was selling hotcakes that afternoon and had been since Thursday. One dealer told me he sold boxes and boxes of Beatles records for five to twenty dollars per record.
I think the World�s Longest Yard Sale could be as worthwhile in Kentucky or anywhere else. It just needs more exposure. Even the sellers in Kentucky felt that there was less press than in previous years. More communication on the net from places like craiglist.com could turn that around.