There is one yearly tradition that COVID-19 can’t destroy in 2020: the U.S. 127 Yard Sale.
Known as the World’s Longest Yard Sale, vendors line up on and around U.S. 127 for the sale, which stretches 690 miles from Gadsden, Alabama, hitting the corner of Georgia and running the length of Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio before ending in Addison, Michigan.
The sale began in 1987 in Tennessee and has been part of Williams County for a long time. Running the first Thursday through Sunday in August, cars can often be found pulled along the side of the road from all across the country and even Canada during the event.
While it doesn’t officially start until Thursday, one family could be found in Pulaski Monday afternoon, setting up tables for the upcoming sale.
It has been something Bill and Janice Serna, of Lyons, have been doing for years. They have set up outside of Outdoor Supply for seven or eight years.
“We like meeting the people, the people are wonderful,” Janice said. “They come from so far over, other states. They’re always interesting.”
Bill said they sell a lot of “miscellaneous stuff,” with Janice saying he usually sells tools, shovels and “dirty stuff, rusty stuff.”
Antiques and glassware are also displayed on the many different tables they set up for the sale.
“We kind of mix it all up,” Bill said.
Diana Sullivan, a Sylvania resident and daughter of the Sernas, said she has been participating in the sale for a long time, as many as 10-15 years if not more.
She sets up with her two sisters as well as her parents, meaning they have a diverse collection of items for sale.
“The traffic for selling things make it worth it,” she said. “You meet a lot of cool people looking for strange things and it’s fun when you have something they’re looking for. Well, not strange ... just not your typical suburban looking for baby clothes and strollers.”
Sullivan said many people return and remember them.
They will also be taking precautions with the pandemic around.
For example, they will have hand sanitizer on several of the tables, will wear masks and sanitize their items.
“We might have a few extra masks if people need them,” Bill said. “You just never know.”
Sullivan said they have wipes and made signs to promote social distancing.
“We figure people aren’t too concerned if they’re up and about, so we’re not super concerned,” she said. “We did probably what everybody else is doing.”
According to its website, the sale provides “essential outdoor recreation, fun and enjoyment” that takes place in mostly rural areas and the vendors tend to earn “a significant portion of their yearly income” at the event.
As it takes place outside, the website states there is enough room to social distance.
Jim Watkins, Williams County health commissioner, gave some advice to people looking to participate in the event.
“I would certainly encourage anyone to wear a mask,” he said. “Vendors should be wearing masks themselves in an event like that. It does attract a great deal of people. The current mask order is if you can’t maintain a social distancing of six feet among others, you should wear a mask.”
Watkins emphasized that people should be wearing a mask the whole time they are participating in the sale.
He also suggested shoppers and vendors carry hand sanitizer.
“Do what you can to keep yourself and others safe is all we ask,” Watkins concluded.
The Ohio Department of Health also has a checklist for vendors and shoppers of garage sales online at https://bit.ly/33ld5fz.
Their recommendations include:
• Practice proper social distancing, including setting up tables and chairs six feet apart and placing posters encouraging social distancing.
• Clean all tables and chairs several times throughout the day and at the end of the day or before the next day of sales. Merchandise should be wiped down before placing on a table or chair for sale.
• Wear masks and disposable gloves.
• Have hand sanitizer on tables for customers.