FENTRESS COUNTY - Each August, a yard sale of massive proportion highlights communities on America's back roads. For businesses in these towns, the popularity of the event helps business the other 51 weekends of the year.
This year, the sales stretched 690 miles from Addis, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama, mostly along U.S. Highway 127.
"The 127 Sale brings in a wide variety of customers, so we try to take advantage of that - people that normally wouldn't travel the secondary roads," Jamestown business owner Kendall Huddleston said.
Huddleston opened his antique shop, 127 Gallery, after years of selling part-time, including several as part of the multi-hundred-mile string of yard sales. He named his business after the highway to capitalize on the yard sale's popularity.
"With the invention of the internet, we Googled '127' and of course the first his was the 127 Yard Sale," Huddleston said. "So as we put that together, we automatically moved right up the list piggybacking off the success of the 127 Yard Sale."
The 127 Yard Sale started in 1987 by Fentress County leaders and stretched across 350 miles through Kentucky and Tennessee.
"The original purpose was to get people into the communities that the interstates bypassed," Fentress County Chamber of Commerce executive director Leann Smith said. "So for Jamestown, it gives us the opportunity to expose people to our vibrant tourism industry, it gives out local businesses an opportunity to showcase their wares, and of course it gets people in the area from as far away as France this year."
Smith says the sale packs hotels and keeps small businesses and restaurants busy.
"We've just been overwhelmed with it this week," West End Cafe owner Frona Davis said. "We see a lot of people from Alabama, we see a lot of people from up north, New York, places like that - Michigan."
Davis says over the years, she's noticed many customers return.
"This is something everyone here in Fentress County looks forward to," Davis said.
The 127 Yard Sale concludes on Sunday. You can learn more about the event and plan for next year's HERE.
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