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Bargains go on for miles at Hagerstown holiday yard sale

July 04, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

Janet Hull said she and her husband, Denny, already had cleared $100 just a few hours after the Mile Long Yard Sale started Friday morning in the north end of Hagerstown.

In their front yard on U.S. 11 sat items ranging from books to a Christmas tree that were "priced to move," Janet said. Because of the expected rain, the Hulls hoped to make $150 Friday -- far less than the $600 they took in a few years ago.

"It was enough to pay for our vacation," Janet said.

Dick Strobl, who has been involved with organizing the Mile Long Yard Sale for the past 24 years, said the event started nearly three decades ago on Longmeadow Road. Since then, the sale has grown to encompass the surrounding neighborhoods.

"It's more like 3 miles," he said. "People always know it's on the Fourth of July -- rain or shine."

Tensions seemed high as some men chain-smoked cigarettes, waiting for their wives and girlfriends to move from sale to sale. On the streets, pedestrians maneuvered gingerly through bumper-to-bumper traffic.

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Dave and Mary Jo Ashburn said they started setting up their yard sale at about 6 a.m. In the past, they have sold everything from furniture to their daughter's van.

"You can make $300 or $400," Mary Jo Ashburn said.

Charlotte Hillegas of Stoystown, Pa., said she and her sister, Darlene Hoffman, have been coming to the sales for about three years to find bargains.

"It's just fun to see what treasures you can find," Hillegas said.

Hoffman said she was looking for books and lighthouse figurines to add to her collection.

A few years ago, Lindsay Wailes of Taneytown, Md., said she bought a python at the event.

"We like yard sales," she said. "We like weird stuff ... And not spending a lot of money."

Wailes said she and her friends arrived early so they could find a place to park. Otherwise, they might have to walk upwards of a mile, as did some of the procrastinators who came late.

At Steve and Kelly Shilling's house, their daughters, Skylar, 6, and Kennedy, 3, were selling lemonade for 50 cents a glass.

As their grandmother, Janice Smith, watched the girls wait on customers, she said, "They're making more than us."

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