ROGERSVILLE — Exactly one month from today, Hawkins County’s most sparsely populated community will become its most densely populated during Clinch Valley’s 18th annual 12-Mile Yard Sale.
Every year on the first Saturday in October, the lonely stretch of two-lane highway that runs along the north base of Clinch Mountain attracts more than 100 sellers and thousands of visitors looking for hidden treasures or bargains — or just an excuse to view the fall foliage.
Event co-founder Lee Hoellman was in her barn Wednesday afternoon painting signs for the Oct. 7 event that stretches along Clinch Valley Road from its far east end at Route 70-N west to the Route 31 intersection just across the Hancock County line.
The sale started as a way for locals to get rid of their junk, while at the same time giving them an excuse to reunite at least once per year and socialize.
Hoellman said this year’s event will be extra special.
“A lot of the local old-timers who hadn’t set up for the the past couple years have said they’re going to set up again this year,” she said. “I’m so excited because that’s really what this event was created for. It’s never been a fundraiser or had any real structure. It’s just a community project that give us locals an excuse to have a reunion every year, but also invites the public to come enjoy our beautiful community for the day.”
On a good year with perfect weather, there will be 100 or more sellers, and there’s no telling what someone is going to find.
Some of the usual items include tools, toys, furniture, electronics, knives, guns, homemade crafts and clothes.
Hoellman’s son once sold a car for $150 that the buyer was able to drive away.
People sell ducks, chickens, bunnies, puppies and kittens.
It’s harvest time and there’s always produce, fresh eggs, honey and homemade food for sale.
Don’t be surprised if more than one vendor has a bunch of giant pumpkins.
Hoellman said you can expect to find something for sale that you never would have expected to find.
Most sellers are out to make a deal, but Hoellman said she’s mostly going to be giving things away at the barn where she sets up. Her goal is to meet a lot of old friends, maybe make some new friends, and hopefully give away most of her old stuff to folks who have some use for it.
“I’ve been going through a lot of the old junk that has accumulated over the past year, like these old record albums I have — just take them,” she said. “If you see something you like, just take it, and I think I’m going to do that a lot. I have an old refrigerator, and it’s not the greatest. But it still works, and I think I’ll stick it on out there, and say, ‘If you really need this, take it.’ ”
She added, “Not everybody is going to do that, but I do have some friends who have some very nice antiques, some nice glassware, small furniture, small tables and chairs, and things like that — at good prices. Really, really good prices on a lot of it.”
Hoellman will be selling some of the doves she raises as well as her gourds. She’s well-known in the county for her gourd art.
Although vendors will begin setting up the Friday night and early Saturday morning of Oct. 6-7, the official start time is Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
The Clinch Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s station on Clinch Valley Road will be selling fresh cooked breakfast from before sunrise and into the morning to accommodate the early birds. Food vendors are expected to be serving meals, snacks and refreshments in various locations along the route.
Anyone interested in selling is encouraged to call Hoellman at (423) 272-4997 if they have any questions.
Hoellman can tell visiting sellers where they’re welcome to set up and where they shouldn’t set up.
There’s no fee, but newcomers should know that not every property owner in Clinch Valley participates, and Hoellman said she’s glad to help vendors navigate the community to their ideal selling location.
“It is pretty much a free-for-all,” she said. “Just be respectful. If you set up somewhere and someone comes along and says that’s been their spot for the last 18 years, just be respectful and say, ‘Can I scoot on over, or can I share?’ ”