100 miles of yard sales planned

Knox, Warren counties part of U.S. 34 event

Friday, January 6, 2006

GALESBURG - Although it is a river of concrete, there will be plenty of "salers" on U.S. 34 this summer. Yard sales will be held in mid-June along an about 100-mile stretch of the highway.

Diane Bruening, the executive director of the Galesburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the new attraction, "More on 34," will take place in communities located along the highway from Princeton to Monmouth. She said the idea, suggested by tourism officials in Kewanee, will be patterned after similar events in the South. It is being labeled "The Biggest Yard Sale in Illinois."

"They do this in Tennessee and Alabama," Bruening said. "Over there, it's a 450-mile route. People over there tell me when nighttime comes, they have to drive 50 miles to find motels with vacancies."

"More on 34" will be held June 17 and 18, one week before Galesburg's Railroad Days. Bruening said the yard sales normally begin at about 8 a.m. and continue until it gets dark. The hope is to someday extend the sales because U.S. 34 goes through Chicago and its western suburbs as Ogden Avenue, while to the west it crosses the Mississippi River into Burlington, Iowa, and continues from there.

Galesburg has a little different situation than most towns on the route because the U.S. 34 Bypass does not pass directly through much of the city and is a limited-access highway here.

"We're hoping we can attract people to get off the highway in our town," Bruening said. She said a brochure with a map of the route is being prepared and there will be plenty of signs in each town directing visitors to the areas where "they'll sell everything from animals to antiques to flea market things."

She added that northern Knox County villages on U.S. 34 - Altona, Oneida and Wataga - all plan to participate.

"Which I think is a neat thing for us," Bruening said. "We've had the Scenic Drive, but we've never had anything involving the (northern portion of the) county."

Bruening said officials have talked to the state, which has given the go-ahead for posting signs for the event along the highway.

"They've said 'put up all the signs you want,'" she said. "The only thing they don't want is people setting up rummage sales on the right-of-way."

In addition to attracting customers for yard sales and uniting a large part of west-central Illinois in a festival-like atmosphere, there's another reason for the event, Bruening said.

"One of the main goal for this is to pull people off the interstates and back to the small communities that don't always get a lot of attention," she said.

"More on 34" Fact Box

Q: How do I become a vendor?

A: Anyone can be a vendor by simply having a yard sale in his or her own yard, at their business, or in designated vendor locations.

Q: What can I sell?

A: Almost anything. Popular items are junk, antiques, collectibles, dishes and glassware, to farm implements, food items, produce and more. Some things require business and/or Health Department permits. Each town has different rules and regulations, so be sure to check with the local City Hall and Health Department where you set up your booth for any licenses or permits you may need to buy.

Q: What time do the sales begin?

A: Each vendor can choose when he or she wants to begin, but typically vendors are active by 8 a.m. and operate until late in the evening.

Q: Who organizes these events?

A: The yard sale event was created by tourism officials in Bureau, Henry, Knox and Warren counties, but rely on community support from each town along the U.S. 34 route to promote the events in their regions.

Q: What does it cost to participate?

A: There is no fee to participate, however some vendor spaces may charge a nominal rental fee to allow you to set up a booth.

Q: Is there an admission fee?

A: No.

For more information, call (309) 343-2485 or (800) 916-3330

Source: Galesburg Convention and Visitors Bureau

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