Today’s the first of three big days along the 110-mile route of the second annual Highway 21 Road Market Sale.
For weeks, yard sale buyers and sellers as well as members of churches and groups planning festivals along the route have been waiting eagerly for the Road Market Sale — which starts in Wytheville, Virginia, at its northern end and continues 110 miles to its southern end in Harmony.
Elkin and Jonesville town officials have been working for the last few months to help promote the event, a longtime dream of D.W. Miles of Alleghany County. Started as part of his “Take a Break from the Interstate” endeavor, the Road Market Sale began as a multi-state cooperative spearheaded by tourism leaders in North Carolina and Virginia.
Miles said he hopes people traveling the highway for the Road Market Sale will decide to travel it more all the time. “After the interstate was built, we lost a lot of traffic,” he said, “and our small businesses suffered because of it.”
Look for yard sales and festivals set up along the route, and watch for signs pointing to other sales off of Highway 21. Towns located along the highway also have scheduled special events for visitors to enjoy.
Visitors to Elkin, for example, have several events to choose from either while they’re shopping or during the evenings after they’re done. Bandit’s Roost will be playing folk and Americana music at the Elkin Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Elkin Town Hall from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.
The Foothills Arts Council has performances of the musical, “Chicago,” scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Elkin High School’s Dixon Auditorium at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The weekly “Cruise Along Main Street” will be held in downtown Elkin from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Brushy Mountain Winery has live music every Friday and Saturday night.
“It says a lot about our town when there’s always something to do when you come in looking for some entertainment,” said Laura Gaylord, Elkin’s Main Street and community manager.
Gaylord said she is looking forward to driving around and seeing what all is going on during the Road Market Sale. She plans to post “Highway 21 Road Market Sale” signs along the highway beforehand “so people when they pull into Elkin will know they’re in the right spot.”
Leslie Schlender, Elkin’s economic development director, said, “It sounds like there is a buzz going on with people asking about details and wanting to set up. We hope there will be a good turnout for Elkin and the whole Highway 21 link of roads.”
Jonesville Town Clerk Lynn Trivette, who has been promoting the event for the town and counting down the days as a returning shopper, said Wednesday that she couldn’t wait for the Road Market Sale to begin. “People in Jonesville seem to be excited about it,” she said. “We have given all the posters out.”
Trivette said she expects a big turnout of people selling and buying at sales along Highway 21 in Jonesville.
“I feel like the word has gotten out, and all I know is I’m ready. I went to the bank today and got all my little dollar bills because when you’re out like that and you’re in the Virginia area, there are not a lot of banks. You need to take 1s and 5s so they don’t have a hard time exchanging money.”
Trivette signed up early for a vacation day today, and she and her husband had made plans to drive to Wytheville, and head south. “We should make it down to State Road Friday,” she said, “and then do Elkin through Harmony on Saturday, but it depends on how much we talk.
“We like to stop and chit-chat so sometimes we get caught up in places longer than we plan to.”
Though she loves shopping, Trivette said the Road Market Sale also offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty along Highway 21, discover neat places and meet new people. While she and her husband were planning to pack a picnic lunch to eat along the way, Trivette said they want to return to a country store they discovered on the route last year, where people sit out in their parking lot and eat hot dogs.
“That’s definitely one place we’re going back to,” she said. “We didn’t know it existed.”
Trivette said the Road Market Sale is a win-win for everybody involved. Shoppers have 110 miles of yard sales and festivals, businesses located along the route benefit from people stopping by and people get to discover the tourist offerings along the route.
Those interested also can check the www.roadmarket.org website to see what other events might be going on in the area. The website includes safety tips for people participating in the event.
Kathy Chaffin may be reached at 336-258-4058.