First things first -- when is the 127 Yard Sale?
The whole shebang is held each year from the first Thursday in August through the first Sunday -- so, this year from August 2-5.
How does it work?
“You’ll have people who, they happen to live right on the route so they’ll just set up in their front yard just like a typical yard sale,” Randall says. “Or property owners with a big field will rent out to a bunch of vendors who’ll all set up together -- 25, 30, sometimes hundreds of them together. Some set up in convention centers, or agricultural-type expo centers.”
Lots of vendors will have some means of accepting credit cards, but all things considered you’re better off going with cash. Some people like to strategically ship things home as they go, lest their trunks and pockets fill up by Friday.
What’s the route?
The 127 Yard Sale begins in Addison, Michigan, and ends down in Gadsden, Alabama. Or vice versa; there are no rules here. Highway 127 comprises the bulk of the route. It runs out in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the mantle is taken up by Lookout Mountain Parkway.
Do people do the whole thing? 690 miles?
The idea isn’t to see the entire thing from top to bottom -- you don’t get a T-shirt or anything if you finish the whole route. As a ballpark for those of you who want to cover some ground, aim for maybe 100 miles per day. Much more than that and you’re really spending the weekend in your car, and the point here is to actually stop places and see things. Scenic drives are great. Enjoy them any other weekend of the year when there isn’t so very much to stop for.
“If you try to stop everywhere it’s quite the task,” Randall says. “There are a few people who try to do the whole thing but that’s almost impossible.”
Are there any especially good parts? If so, where
So, because of the sheer size of the yard sale it’s almost impossible to track all the changes from one year to the next and determine what will be where. You can, however, search the route online for hubs of 25 vendors or more.
Tennessee and Kentucky typically boast the highest concentrations of vendors. Which isn’t to say those vendors are necessarily any more or less interesting, or charming or treasure-laden or whatever particular aesthetic you’re projecting onto all this; just that there are more. The section radiating out from Crossville, Tennessee -- with Signal Mountain to the south and the birthplace site Jamestown to the north -- will reliably have a whole boatload of vendors. If you find yourself as far down as Georgia and Alabama, try to hit the particularly lovely stretch that follows the Lookout Mountain Parkway.
(Check out Thrillist’s guide to the best mountain towns in America here.)