Bargain hunters come forth

July 05, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

Mom, apple pie and ... yard sales?

Thousands of people on Friday took part in the all-American pastime of hunting for bargains at the 24th annual Mile-Long Yard Sale.

"If you want to sell something, this is the spot," said Lloyd Martz, 30, of Williamsport.

In past years, Martz avoided the mega-yard sale, held every July 4 in several adjoining neighborhoods north of Hagerstown. But after 11 years of marriage, two children and homeownership, Martz had accumulated a front lawn's worth of belongings he no longer needed.

"It's time to unload," he said.

Luckily, his in-laws' house is at a prime location on Longmeadow Road, where a steady stream of people and cars passed by all morning and into the afternoon.


At 6:15 a.m., even before Martz finished setting up, people were ready to buy. His washer and dryer brought $100.

By noon, he still hadn't sold a black Toyota pickup, for which he was asking $1,500.

His offerings also included tools, automotive parts, a number of large tires, baby clothes and toys.

"Nothing of sentimental value will ever see the streets. We'll just keep storing that stuff," he said.

Yard-sale shoppers came prepared for the sprawling event. A number of people carried their purchases in carts or wagons.

Some residents sold hot dogs or cold drinks, which were popular on the hot July 4 day.

Ron Gerber had a flatbed trailer full of books and other items for sale. A sign on the trailer said, "Trailer $400. Things on trailer priceless." The word "priceless" was crossed out and $1 was written.

Sherman Glunt, 44, of Chambersburg, Pa., was standing next to a red Radio Flyer wagon piled high with items his wife, daughter and friend had purchased.

"I'm the mule," he said.

John and Sandy Anderson of Cumberland, Md., heard about the yard sale and decided to spend the night at a Hagerstown area hotel Thursday night so they could get first crack at the bargains.

Before noon, both of their carts were full of items, including books, a tray, sweeper bags and picture frames.

Most of the yard sales featured used items, but there were a couple of entrepreneurs taking advantage of the crowd to sell new merchandise they were able to buy in bulk at a discount.

Randy L. Baker's display offered a little bit of both.

Leaning against a rusting 1965 Rambler with a 1962 Shasta trailer attached to the back, Baker talked about the public debut of his part-time business called Wowabunga.

"This is like the nucleus of a business to come," said Baker, who freely demonstrated the potato guns he was selling out of a rusty wagon featuring a "blue-light special" light.

Baker drew in the crowd with Elvis tunes, played on his IPod MP3 player powered by two solar panels.

Two plastic pink flamingos he called Wally and Dolly invited people to "Sit a Spel" in chairs sitting under the Shasta's black-and-white striped awning.

Baker said his motto is, "You're never too old to have a good childhood."

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