Get ready for a road trip all you flea market enthusiasts, bargain hunters and treasure seekers. This weekend is the 301 Endless Yard Sale, stretching more than 100 miles along US Highway 301.
Vendors will set up shop from Weldon to Dunn, tempting shoppers with antiques, collectibles, DIY finds, upcycled furniture and other items. Thousands show up every year for the event, to be held this year June 14-15. The sale hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
“People are very enthusiastic about this sale. And it’s great for local businesses and the economy,” said Ashby Brame, marketing manager for the Johnston County Visitors Bureau.
“We work to promote the event, encourage vendor locations, and keep an open line of communication between local stores, restaurants, residents, and county officials, but at this point, we’re all sure the event would happen without us,” she said. “It has taken on a life of its own, and we couldn’t be happier about it.”
More than 15,000 shoppers and 1,000 vendors are expected this year, and it’s not just North Carolina folks. People from Michigan to Florida are among the 19,000 people following the event’s Facebook page. In Johnston County alone, the yard sale will account for more than 100 additional hotel stays, she says.
The 301 Endless Yard Sale is organized jointly by the five counties along the route: Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston and Harnett. Patterned after the long-established 127 Longest Sale, which runs 690 miles from Michigan to Alabama, the North Carolina event was founded six years ago in Selma. Organizers wished to draw visitors off the interstates and into their communities.
“We started the sale with the idea that we already had a lot of antique stores, shops and vendors in the Selma area, and we wanted to grow that along the Highway 301 route,” said Brame. “It seems to get bigger every year.”
In the last couple of years, she has seen out-of-state vendors arriving early on Thursday to do a little shopping of their own.
“They’ll haggle with other vendors or haggle with the brick-and-mortar antique stores. It’s almost like Thursday, the day before the sale, is vendor day,” said Brame. “It’s been really interesting to see how they do their inventory. We’ve had vendors come who do this for a living, and they will run out of stuff to sell.”
Many sellers will be located along the stretch in well-established visitor sites like Riverside Mill in Weldon, the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly and TWM Antiques in Selma. Families, churches and schools on the route will also have with vendor spaces.
To get the most out of the event, organizers say to be cautious of pedestrians and other vehicles along the route. They also advise preparing for the weather — wearing sunscreen and drinking plenty of water. And as with any yard sale, bring cash.
For more information, including a map of the vendors, visit 301endlessyardsale.com.