Gear up and get ready, because one of the nation’s biggest yard sales is back this year, with hundreds of vendors selling antiques, DIY projects, collectibles, knick-knacks and pretty much anything else you could hope for along 100 miles of a North Carolina highway.
The 301 Endless Yard Sale, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will run along US 301 through five counties — from Halifax through Nash, Wilson, Johnston and Harnett — from 7 am to 5 pm Friday, June 17 and again Saturday, June 18 .
Here’s what you need to know for a successful trip to the sale, whether you plan to hunt for treasure along the entire route or browse casually from one vendor to the next.
What is the 301 Endless Yard Sale?
The sale was originally founded in Johnston County before expanding to include Halifax, Nash, Wilson and Harnett. It is organized each year by the counties’ visitors bureaus and is modeled after the 690-mile-long 127 Yard Sale that runs from Michigan to Alabama. The 301 sale also takes inspiration from the HGTV show “Flea Market Flip.”
The yard sale was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. But on a regular year, it attracts up to 15,000 visitors and shoppers over the course of the two days, said Donna Bailey-Taylor, president and CEO of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau.
Where should you start?
Yard sales are sprinkled all along the designated 100-mile route along US 301 — at homes, where individuals and families have set up their own sales, in addition to larger clusters of vendors in business, school and church parking lots, side streets adjacent to the main route and fields and pastures that sit in rural communities along the route.
Larger pockets of vendors can be found in spots including downtown Dunn, South Johnston High School, Riverside Mill and the Tobacco Farm Life Museum. Dozens of vendors set up in church and school parking lots all along the sale. You can find vendor locations across all five counties using the map on the event’s website.
Some seasoned, regimented bargain hunters might start at one end of the route — Weldon or Dunn — and make their way meticulously to the other end. But you can also start toward the middle of the route, around Selma, and tackle the northern half of the sale one day and the southern half the next. Or you can enter the sale at any point along the route and go from there.
What kinds of things can you buy?
Wherever you hop onto the route, you’ll be sure to find a huge range of items for sale, from antiques, collectibles, dishes and glassware to farm implements, produce, clothing, baked goods and junk. Johnston County alone will have around 500 vendors, if not more, according to Bailey-Taylor, and more than 1,000 will line the route at large.
It’s “really from A to Z the variety of things people will find along the yard sale. And I think that’s pretty much the excitement and the fun of it,” Bailey-Taylor said.
Where can you park?
Visitors to larger vendor locations will be able to stop at the vendor sites, which are required to reserve 20% of the space for parking. In other spots, parking may be limited to driveways or the side of the road. Visitors should not park along the highway.
What about eating and using the restroom?
When nature calls while bargain-hunting, you can find restrooms at some of the bigger vendor locations. You can also stop for a bite to eat at local restaurants in downtown areas, or grab lunch from a food vendor or local food truck set up along the route.
Johnston County provides a few tips for visitors preparing for the yard sale:
▪ If you plan to buy items and take them home, consider the vehicle that you’ll be taking to the event and the space you’ll have for the goods you acquire. If you run out of space, you can always ship items home from local shipping centers and post offices
▪ Have cash on hand. Cash will be the most convenient and welcomed form of payment.
▪ Bring reusable bags, backpacks and rolling bags to carry your finds and free up your hands as you sort through more of the sale.
▪ Dress comfortably, wear sunscreen and pack snacks and drinks. It’s going to be hot!
▪ Drive carefully. The roads will be packed with pedestrians, other drivers and people lugging around big finds, so be cautious and keep your eyes on the road.
Happy treasure hunting!
This story was originally published June 16, 2022 5:15 PM.