The second annual U.S. Highway 21 three-day Road Market Sale is extending 30 miles farther on the southern route from Jonesville — last year’s end — to include Harmony in Iredell County.
D.W. Miles, chairman of the “Take a Break from the Interstate (T.A.B.)” event, said tourism leaders for towns and cities along the now 100-mile route are promoting the July 24-26 Road Market Sale. It is expected to include hundreds of yard sales, road markets and community festivals over the course of three days.
Officials in Elkin and Jonesville already are starting to promote the event in this area.
Lynn Trivette, Jonesville’s town clerk, said she and her husband participated in the first event last year and thought it went really well. “We think it’s only going to continue to grow,” she said. “Evidently, extending it 30 more miles is proof in the pudding.”
The Jonesville Tourism Development Authority headed up by Anita Darnell, who also serves on the town council, has purchased some posters and brochures announcing the event, Trivette said, and town officials have been distributing them to local businesses and residents. Plans for this year’s Road Market also are included on the town of Jonesville website.
People sometimes ask for posters when they use the drive-through at Town Hall to pay bills, Trivette said, “and they’ll say, ‘Oh we had so much fun last year. We can’t wait.’”
Trivette said she and her husband feel the same way, having stopped at several of the yard sales last year and packed a picnic lunch to stop and eat along the way. “We had a great time,” she said.
The event is also a great opportunity for churches and civic clubs to set up roadside stands to raise money. Trivette said a food vendor that set up a stand in the parking lot of a Jonesville business last year also did real well.
Laura Gaylord, Elkin’s Main Street and community manager, said legislation to eliminate privilege fees and taxes for flea market vendors, which becomes effective July 1, will likely increase town residents’ participation in the second annual Road Market Sale. Last year, “the town could not waive this fee as it was a state tax,” she said.
At this point, she said Elkin officials have not established what types of regulations may be in place for this type business activities. “For this specific event, since there are no fees established at this time,” Gaylord said town officials stated they would waive fees associated with the three-day Road Market so Elkin can participate with the rest of the region.
Gaylord said she has been contacted by the owner of the Elkin Antiques and Collectibles Mall, who may set up additional vendors on his property. At this point, she said she has not heard from any other downtown merchants but hopes they will participate along with the businesses along Bridge Street.
The Elkin Farmers Market was open for business last year, Gaylord said, and did quite well from the extra customers generated by the first Road Market Sale.
Gaylord said she has some yellow Highway 21 signs in her office if anyone needs one. “Those can be placed along Highway 21 for the event Friday through Sunday without worry about sign ordinance issues,” she said.
D.W. Miles started the first event last year through the Miles J.O.B Fund he started to create jobs for citizens in Alleghany County. The mission of the U.S. 21 Road Market, he said, “is to create economic development through tourism.”
Highway 21 was the main road people traveled before Interstate 77 was built. “It’s a beautiful area,” Miles said. “We’re trying to get traffic back on Highway 21.”
What Miles said he would like to see is that people who participate in the Road Market will continue to travel Highway 21 throughout the year instead of staying on the interstate. “We’ve got a lot to offer up through here,” he said, “including eight state and national parks.”
Miles said he hopes to plan other events to get people off the interstate and onto Highway 21.
Kathy Chaffin can be reached at 336-258-4058.