Beginning near Paducah and all the way through Maysville, Kentucky's historic Highway 68 will be covered with hundreds of yard sales and thousands of shoppers Thursday through Sunday.
Debby Spencer, a statewide organizer of the 400 Mile Sale, said approximately 60 communities along the scenic byway attract shoppers from nearly 40 states and seven countries, generating an estimated $2.3 million for each community. She said data collected in post-event surveys indicates shoppers spend nearly $400,000 on lodging, more than $420,000 on gas, in excess of $300,000 on food and more than $1.2 million on sale items. She noted that data is generated on numbers submitted on a voluntary basis and not all participants complete a survey, so those estimates are "conservative."
Spencer said the economic benefit for participating communities doesn't end with the sale itself as she has learned that often, visitors discover a place they love along the trail and revisit later. She said due to increased and consistent online engagement since last year's event, organizers are expecting an even larger turnout this weekend.
"The 400 Mile Sale was created as a way to get people off the interstates and parkways and back into the small communities and that has definitely impacted some of the communities in your region," Spencer said. "The last couple of years, Marshall County has been considered 'The Hot Spot.' That community really grasps the idea of the fundraising opportunity of it -- there are a lot of fundraisers happening along the Marshall County route and talk about community support; everybody is pitching in and really engaging the shoppers."
The WACPAC is opening the Aurora Community Park to "fleas, antiquers, junkers, crafters, fair food connoisseurs and anyone else looking for a great deal on some great 'new' stuff" from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Organizers said the vendors will be open at various times but the restroom facilities will be open during the times listed.
Organizers report they set up the parking in the center of the venue and have the vendors set up in "a huge circle" around the entire park. They said there's plenty of room for dozens of vendors and also ample parking for shoppers with trucks and trailers. Vendors pay a flat rate of $30 set-up fee for all four days. Food vendors, vendors requesting space under the pavilion or those needing electricity may contact Audrey at 270-906-5515 or Bonnie at 270-205-1501 for inquiries regarding availability.
Calvert City is also hosting an event along with the 400 Mile Sale--Calvert's Citywide Yard Sale beginning Thursday at 6:30 a.m. and ending Saturday at 5 p.m.
Calvert City Director of Marketing and Business Development Blair Travis said she and her family have attended the 400 Mile Sale since its inception and coming from Eddyville had to pass right through Calvert to get to Hwy. 68.
"If the traffic is already coming through 62 to get to 68, why not set up some detours along the route," she said. "It's a simple event, really. Holley Office has agreed to put up a banner at their Hwy. 68 location directing people to Calvert City and we will post the map on social media as well as locations around town that frequently post yard sale locations. It's just a fun way to get the city residents involved and get visitors into our city."
Also along the trail this weekend is a free Bluegrass Night featuring local and regional Bluegrass groups beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Kentucky Opry. At 6:30 p.m., the Pickin and Jammin begins in the lobby. Call 270-527-3869 for more information.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Kentucky Drag Boat Association is hosting its annual Pisgah Bay Drag Boat Race, which takes place annually the first Saturday in June, July and Aug. For more information call 800-732-0088.
Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire advised motorists not participating in the sale avoid Hwy. 68 if possible. For those who must travel along that roadway, he advises driving slowly and with caution, anticipating sudden stops. But he also said shoppers along the route are advised the posted speed limit is 55 mph so sudden stops are not a good idea and it's better to turn around and go back rather than cause an unnecessary crash.
Also, and most importantly McGuire said, do not park on the highway. He said deputies will patrol Hwy. 68 watching for unsafe drivers.
For a list of sale locations, visit website 400mile.com with community names, addresses within that community which have registered and some provide a brief detail of the items available. Spencer said the site will continue to be updated into Thursday evening as the last-minute registrations come in. More information is also available on the 400 Mile Sale Facebook page.