The second annual U.S. Highway 21 three-day Road Market Sale is less than two weeks away, and local residents are gearing up to either shop or sell along the 110-mile route.
Lynn Trivette, who is helping to promote the event as part of her job as Jonesville’s town clerk, already has made plans to shop. She is taking a vacation day on July 24 — the first day of the Road Market Sale — so that she and her husband can drive to Wytheville, Virginia, and head south.
Wytheville is the northern end of the Road Market Sale, extended 40 miles south this year to include Harmony in Iredell County.
“If we started here, we’d have to spend the night,” Trivette said, “and I don’t want to do that.”
Lynn and her husband plan to drive their truck so they’ll have room if they purchase any big items from people and groups who set up yard sales along the route.
“My nephew is moving to Kernersville and is needing a kitchen table and bedroom suit,” she said, “so he’s already told me to be on the lookout for him a couple of things. I’ll take a picture on my cell phone and send it to him and say, ‘Do you want to buy it?’”
Laura Gaylord, Elkin’s Main Street and community manager, said she has signs available for town residents wanting to have yard sales along Highway 21. People or organizations planning to set up anywhere other than their own residences need to get permission from the owners beforehand, she said.
Gaylord said the only requirement of the town is for people who set up not to leave their tables and offerings for sale out overnight. So far, she has not received any calls from people asking about the Road Market Sale.
Trivette said two vacant parking lots along Highway 21 in Jonesville are available for people who want to set up yard sales, the lot beside of Foothills Meat Market where the bowling alley used to be and the lot across the street where Super Savers used to be.
People setting up in the lots are asked to make sure they clean up before they leave. Trivette said everyone who used the lots last year did a great job cleaning up. “I was so proud of them,” she said.
Jonesville officials also have offered the use of the town hall parking lot for residents, but it is off Highway 21, and people setting up will need to put up their own signs along the main route so that people will know where to go.
The Jonesville Public Library at 150 W. Main St. also has offered the use of 20 spaces in its parking lot for a fee: $10 for one day; $20 for two days; and $25 for all three. People setting up will need to reserve a space by calling the library ahead of time and providing their own tables and tents.
Library Assistant Christi Pate said she and Librarian Barbara Gilpen plan to put out signs at the intersection on Highway 21 pointing people in the direction of the library and will be advertising for people who sign up to sell on the library’s Facebook page.
Another benefit of setting up at the library, Pate said, is that vendors will be able to use the library’s bathroom on Friday and Saturday during operating hours. She and Gilpen also will be selling water and other items on the first two days of the Road Market Sale.
Any money raised by the fees will go in the Friends of the Library’s general fund.
Trivette said anyone planning to participate can pick up Road Market Sale posters at Jonesville Town Hall. Town employees already have given out 75 of 100 color poster to town residents, she said, mostly to people paying bills in the drive-through line.
Town officials have put up around a dozen posters throughout Jonesville. Trivette said she plans to contact local churches to see if their youth groups or others are interested in holding fundraisers during the Road Market Sale.
The Road Market Sale is a longtime dream of D.W. Miles of Alleghany County, founder of “Take a Break from the Interstate.” Started last year to help spur economic activity along Historic Route 21, the three-day event is a multi-state cooperative endeavor spearheaded by tourism leaders from Virginia and North Carolina.
In its first year, the market received national attention and is credited for driving thousands of motorists into the participating communities along Highway 21. Residents, shopkeepers, restaurants and merchants hosted hundreds of yard sales, sidewalk sales, flea markets and community events along the route.
Miles said many of the towns along the route are planning special activities, and a list of them appears on the www.us21roadmarket.org website. “I think this year will be even greater than last year,” he said. “Each town is promoting it on their own.”
Town officials in Harmony, for example, which was added when the route was extended this year, sent out postcards to residents informing them of the event.
In initiating the event last year, Miles said it was his intent not just to get people to travel Highway 21 for the sale, but to encourage them to travel it more all the time. “Highway 21 was a very historic highway back before they built Interstate 77,” he said. “After the interstate was built, we lost a lot of traffic, and our small businesses suffered because of it.”
For more information on the Highway 21 Road Market Sale and to see a list of special activities going on in the towns through which it crosses, log onto www.us21roadmarket.org. Miles also encouraged people who plan to participate to read the section about safety and compliance with local and state laws and ordinances as it is a multi-state, multi-jurisdiction event.
He recommended that people contact the local government representative in their community before participating and lists their names on the website. People also may call Miles’ offices at 1-800-553-2322 with questions about the event.
Kathy Chaffin may be reached at 336-258-4058.