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Big yard sale just gets bigger

July 05, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

The favored mode of travel in Hagerstown's north end Saturday was the little red wagon, and they were loaded down with stuff their owners were buying in a July 4th tradition - the city's "Mile-Long Yard Sale."

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Only now, according to participants, the yard sale has stretched to two or possibly three miles.

"It's spreading out further and further every year. It seems to engulf the world," said Bill Griemsmann, who with his wife, Kathy, and three children set up in the driveway of their two-story brick colonial on Paradise Church Road.

Bill Griemsmann was manning the gas grill, flipping hamburgers that his wife and kids were selling to the people passing by.

This year the family was raising money for a vacation to Williamsburg, Va.

"We've been living in the house for four years, and we've done the yard sale ever since," Griemsmann said. The family had only two card tables set up with sale items Saturday. "We sold most of our stuff off in the last three years. There isn't much left," he said.

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Griemsmann said his family makes between $500 and $600 from the sale every year.

Many of the Griemsmann's neighbors were getting their share of the business that was walking by their front yards. Yard sales were set at nearly every house along Long Meadow Road and roads off of it. Concession stands that offered everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to snow cones were doing equally well. Church and civic organizations were mixed in with private families.

A small group of teens from Trumpets of Truth, a youth group representing three area Mennonite churches, set up two soft-serve ice cream machines and a hot dog stand in front of the private home of a church member. The hot dogs and sodas were selling fast, but ice cream sales were disappointing, the kids said. They were raising money for their annual summer retreat.

Farther up the road, enjoying the shade of two large Norway maple trees, sat Danielle Yount, 16, and her father, Bill. It was the third year for their yard sale. Danielle was raising money for an evangelistic mission to Merida, Mexico, with her church youth group later this summer. The 11-day trip will cost $1,400, and she hoped to raise almost a fourth of that in the yard sale. Family members donate items for the sale each year. What goes unsold at the end of the day goes to the rescue mission, Danielle said.

Shelly Sydnor of Newburg, Pa., had a 9-by-12-foot red rug rolled up atop her sport utility vehicle. It was held down by yellow police tape. She paid $10 for it. "I'm doing my basement over," she said.

Caroline Dunning, 37, was pulling her little red wagon along Long Meadow Road, heading for her van to unload her purchases before heading out again.

In the wagon was a yellow workman's helmet Dunning said she bought for a nephew "who wants to be a carpenter like his dad."

"I bought some glassware for my sister," she said. "She's starting a business arranging parties for people."

Dunning's friend, Gay Rohrer, 47, of Williamsport, was with her. She collects old country music albums and pointed to an album by "Asleep at the Wheel."

"We've been to about 50 places so far and we're not through net," Rohrer said. "We've been at it since 7:30 this morning.

Not every family participates in the annual July 4th tradition. Some houses block off visitors with orange cones, temporary fences and signs that warn trespassers.

According to early organizers, the yard sale began about 20 years ago. It has grown into a Fourth of July tradition for people from the Tri-State area.

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