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The Johnston County Visitors Bureau BLOG is published weekly with news and feature articles on visiting the county.

301 Endless Yard Sale Works to Add Participants in 5th Year

301 Endless Yard Sale Works to Add Participants in 5th Year

A variety of towns located along US 301 in the counties of Johnston, Halifax, Wilson, Nash, and Harnett are planning for this year's 5th Annual 301 Endless Yard Sale, taking place Friday and Saturday of June 16-17, 2017. Along the 100-mile stretch of highway, the communities join together with vendors offering deals, antiques, collectibles and more.

Organizers of the sale this year are focused on further community involvement up and down the sale to increase vendor and shopper attendance. Reports from townships and vendors who participated in last year's 301 Endless Yard Sale show that the event continues to grow. However, there are still sparse sections along the 100 plus mile event and town leaders are looking to change that. A trend organizers are hoping continues this year is the participation of non-profits and private residences. Local businesses aren’t the only ones who can capitalize on sale traffic by setting-up yard sales and vendor booth spots in their parking lots and on their lawns.

“Here in Johnston County businesses along 301 have been selling vendor spaces in their parking lots and having sidewalk sales for the last 4 years,” stated Ashby Brame, who works for the Johnston County Visitors Bureau and helps organize the sale. “Where we’ve seen the sale grow is that now schools, like South Johnston’s Booster Club, and churches have started opening their parking lots to vendors. In addition, residential stretches of country road outside the major towns that used to be blank now have more and more private residences working together with neighbors to offer very robust yard sales along 301.”

The planning of this event also continues to grow in scope as participation and attendance increases. Town managers, tourism representatives, health department officials, and employees with emergency services all remain an integral part of the planning process. In addition, this year organizers hope to work with NCDOT to set-up a system along the route to track increased car volume the weekend of the sale to get the most accurate count of how many people attend the 301 Endless Yard Sale.

Preparations are underway for welcoming tons of visitors who are invited to explore the country roads of Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston and Harnett Counties to look for that unique collectible along the 301 Endless Yard Sale. Towns are working on providing additional events and amenities for vendors and shoppers. Downtown Smithfield will be having a concert event Friday night the 16th. The Wilson Fairgrounds will be offering on-site spaces for vendors wishing to camp-out with their booth. Smaller towns like Micro, Lucama, Elm City, and Enfield hope to have an increased vendor showing this year.

It officially starts Friday, June 16th and runs through Saturday beginning at 7am and ending at 5pm daily. For more information on the event and contacts in each town's vendor locations, visit the official website, www.301endlessyardsale.com.

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301 Endless Yard Sale in Full Swing

301 Endless Yard Sale in Full Swing








Today was the first of two days in which thousands of shoppers and hundreds of vendors come together for 100 miles of yard sales. This year is the fourth annual 301 Endless Yard Sale and it's off to a great start here in Johnston County. Visit 301EndlessYardSale.com for a map and more information.

Here are just a few pictures from our first day exploring the route in Johnston County!

This cute teal door is perfection! How many tutorials can you find on what to do with it?

If you collect antique vending machines, be sure to check out the 301 stretch between Benson and Four Oaks.

Going somewhere? Just love vintage luggage? Both?

Glass bottles, or really glass of any sort seems to be very popular this year. Lots of vendors are selling these.

Don't forget to go into the antique and vintage storefronts in downtown Selma and Benson, they've got great stuff too.

Lastly, remember that your husband called, and he said to spend as much as you want. What a great sign, right?

Other participating counties include Halifax, Nash, Wilson, and Harnett. Be sure to explore as much of the sale as you can tomorrow, and don't forget about the locally owned restaurants along the 301 route. There are some delicious treats hidden among all those treasures.

Be sure to keep up with the sale and all there is to find by searching for and using #301EndlessYardSale on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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Yard Sale or Flea Market? That is the question.

Yard Sale or Flea Market? That is the question.

It's almost mid-way through May, which means if you squint you can basically say that the 301 Endless Yard Sale is a month away. Wow! Times flies when you're furiously planning a two-day, five county, 100 mile extravaganza. If June 17th and 18th aren't already circled on your calendar, go ahead right now and write BIGGEST YARD SALE IN NC across that Friday and Saturday. For all the details you can visit the 301 Endless Yard Sale website.  A Tobacco Basket For Sale

Planning this event for the hundreds of vendors and thousands of shoppers takes a lot of time and a lot of passion... and a lot of coffee. But, it also means that we aim to answer all your questions and inquiries via phone, email, or Facebook. And one question in particular got us to thinkin', as we like to say here in the South.

The question was posed to us: what is the difference between a yard sale and a flea market?

Why is it called the 301 Endless Yard Sale? Why not flea market? Garage sale? What an excellent question. We think it deserves some investigation.

First lets dive into the actual definition according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Yard Sale - a sale of used furniture, clothing, etc., held at the seller's home.

Flea Market - a usually outdoor market in which old and used goods are sold.

For long stretches of the 301 event, since its beginnings and even now, the sale consists of primarily locals selling items in their yard - furniture, books, toys, clothes, boats. You name it, we've seen it for sale. Some local artists sell things they've made, like jewelry, or they sell items they've purchased and up-cycled themselves.

Donna Bailey-Taylor, Director and CEO of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau was instrumental in organizing the event for the first time and she talks about the concept for the 301 Endless Yard Sale as a coming together of the community to create the event, "We had very serious collectors and antiquers in the Selma area who knew about the Highway 127 Sale that stretches from Michigan to Alabama every year. We thought that maybe we could pull-off something similar on a smaller and more local scale."

"We talked to the local communities along Highway 301 running through Johnston County and we got them on-board with the concept and the date. The first year was mostly people selling out of their yards and pockets of roadside vendors, but we knew that the event would benefit the community." Antique Vendor Booths in Selma

So, the 301 Endless Yard Sale did begin and remains partly to this day one big, long yard sale. But, to be fair, we could also call it the 301 Endless Flea Market, because it has organically grown into that as well. There are spots along the route where antique stores, auctions, community organizations, and even unrelated businesses offer up their parking lots and sidewalks to vendors interested in selling goods. Vendors who rent these booths usually don't have a yard on highway 301 to sell out of. They are also normally selling antiques, vintage, or handcrafted items as a legitimate business, not trying to get rid of the extra lawn gnome gathering dust in the garage.

Bailey-Taylor says that the first year of the sale businesses were encouraged to participate in this way but it took a while for the idea of having designated vendor areas along the sale to catch on, "we also had a vision that the sale would bring attention to the many antique and thrift stores in the Selma area and along the rest of the route. We went out to locals and businesses to tell them that they could sell vendor spaces, but you don't how much participation you're going to have until the day of the event. We were pleasantly surprised that first year and it's only grown since."

Now going into the 4th year of the sale and having expanded to encompass 5 counties in NC, the 301 Endless Yard Sale is by definition both a yard sale and a flea market. Along the 100 miles and over 2 days, shoppers from near and far can haggle with locals on green lawns about a box of china or stop at one of the many businesses along the route with vendor booths to pursue multiple stalls at once - filled with old barn-side signs, or vintage red wagons, or a gently used KISS vinyl. Both the sale and the possibilities are endless.

So, now you know. Are you more of a yard sale or flea market shopper? Do you look for that used item to DIY up-cycle or the vintage find that you can brag to your friends over? You'll find all types of shoppers along the 301 Endless Yard Sale - serious antiquers, thrifty moms, crafty creatives, collectors. We hope to see you there too!

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Horseless Carriages to Take a Tour of Johnston County

Horseless Carriages to Take a Tour of Johnston County

Did you know that next week is officially Horseless Carriage Club Week in Johnston County?


Well, now you do. An official proclamation from the county was issued in congruence with the first visit to the area by the North Carolina Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. This touring antique car club actually includes members from all over the southeast who meet annually for a summer driving tour through a selected host city. 

Horseless Carriage

Johnston County is happy to be hosting antique automotive enthusiast to our area, which is rich in heritage and hospitality. I, of course, had questions about this unique event. What is a horseless carriage? What is a tour? 

The first thing I learned is that the Horseless Carriage Club of America has 70 regional groups across the world. In the North Carolina Regional Group there are members from within the state and also places like Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. The biggest event in the club is the yearly tour, going on its 64th year, and it has never been hosted in eastern NC until now. Members meet at the host location, often bringing their cars in trailers, and then spend the next few days driving the antique cars around caravan style while enjoying the local points of interest.How old are these things? I sat down with Selma native, tour host, and 5-year member Tommy Fitzgerald. He was happy to answer all my questions and also, theoretically, teach me how to drive a Model-T.

Must Be 100 Years Old to Join... Sorta

I was fascinated to find that only a very specific type of car can claim membership in the club. Cars manufactured prior to 1928 are allowed, though a lot of the cars driving around Johnston County next week will be over 100 years old. We’re talking about cars that were made by hand pre-assembly line era (RIP Henry Ford). That is where the term horseless carriage comes from. The very first cars looked like carriages without horses hitched to them. As Tommy Fitzgerald put it, “very few cars on the road today, and not in museums, represent the infancy of the automobile industry.”

The responsibility of preserving this era of human ingenuity instills horseless carriage owners with a sense of purpose. Club members own these cars for the driving and the enjoyment, but mostly they do it to help preserve an important piece of history. “It is for posterity,” says Fitzgerald, “in the club we say that you might have the title and the bill of sale, but you never really own the car. The car belongs to history.”

And there will be cars on this tour that you have never seen before and will likely never see again, even a car with a steam-powered engine. Over 75 cars and around 200 people have signed-up. Drivers range in age from late twenties to over eighty. Fitzgerald explained that most drivers but cars in working condition, already restored. Some die-hards with the knack for it like to buy and fix up automobiles themselves.

Horseless Carriage 2

Gentlemen (and Ladies) Start Your Engines

I wanted to know about the ability of these cars to perform on modern streets and at considerable distances. I learned something new again. Legally, a car must only be equipped with the safety features it came with. So, if you drive your 2015 Ford Escape without doors, seatbelts, or airbags… that’s illegal. Driving a 1918 Ford Model-T lacking some of the same features is perfectly legal because the car was not manufactured with those features in the first place. As for performance, Fitzgerald assures me these cars are all in perfect working condition. The average touring day finds the group traveling 100-125 miles, though routes tend to traverse secondary roads and not major highways.

If you have a desire to see any of these fascinating and historical cars for yourself, the club will be doing at least 2 public displays. One next Monday the 20th at Deacon Jones from around 5:30PM to 8PM. Another at Holt’s Lake Bar-B-Que on Wednesday the 22nd around lunchtime.

Thank you to Tommy Fitzgerald and his wife Donna for bringing this amazing event to Johnston County. I would like to wish you and the rest of the Horseless Carriage Club members a fun and safe tour. 


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Endless Yard Sale Show Comes to Hwy 301

Endless Yard Sale Show Comes to Hwy 301

Endless Yard Sale Show Comes to Hwy 301

We swear that when we named our event the 301 Endless Yard Sale we did not know there was an amazing  television show dedicated to bringing yard sale loving contestants to some of the nation's biggest and best yard sales. Or that the show was called Endless Yard Sale. But, serendipity is strange like that, and Endless Yard Sale will be coming to, well, our 301 Endless Yard Sale, June 19-20, 2015.

What does that mean for you as a local or a visitor, a vendor or a buyer? It means you just might have a chance to be on TV... the Great American Country channel to be exact. We have packed some great information into this blog, including who to contact if you want to be a contestant and some of the possible items the show is looking to buy on their 301 adventure. If you're going to be at the 301 Endless Yard Sale this year and you are an antique collector then we suggest you bring your "A" game!  

We've also included a helpful map of Hwy 301 as it goes through 100 miles of treasure hunting from Roanoke Rapids to Dunn. The map starts at the most northern vendor and ends at the most southern vendor (so far). It also maps each vendor area we currently know about and it will be updated as we know more information.

Do You Live for Yard Sales? Would You Like to Be on TV?

Do you have an eye for antiques and vintage treasures? Can you bargain and deal like a pro? You could be the next Endless Yard Sale winner! Our House Media is currently casting Picking Teams for Great American County's competition series Endless Yard Sale. If you're interested in being on the show then they want to hear from you. Contact Lauren Hugh at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 416-551-1032 ext. 260.

Do You Have Interesting and Unusual Yard Sale Items?

Endless Yard Sale is also looking for interesting and unusual antiques and collectibles. Below is a list of some of the things they are looking for.

- Old Toys: Cast Iron, Tin Windup
- Old Signs
- Old Neon Signs
- Military Items
- Pedal Cars
- Antique Guns
- Coin-Operated Machines
- Folk Art
- Motorcycles
- Juke Boxes
- Old Movie Posters
- Cast Iron
- Early Furniture
- Pottery
- Radios: Transistors/Tabletop
- Bicycles
- Advertising Items
- Pottery
- Western/ Equestrian Gear
- Taxidermy
- Vending Machines: Coke, Candy, Gumball
- Musical Instruments
- Sports Collectibles
- 60’s, 70’s & 80’s TV Merchandise
- Vintage Diner Items

- Duck Decoys
- Pinball Machines
- Telephones
- Circus & Carnival Memorabilia
- Election Memorabilia
- Musical Instruments
- Civil War Antiques
- NASA Memorabilia
- Rugs
- Advertising Items
- Cookie Jars
- Antique Casino/ Gaming Equipment
- Antique Clocks
- Taxidermy Animals
- Early Board Games
- Old Photographs - Crocks
- Hawaiian/ Tiki Collectibles
- Old Bar Equipment
- Oil Paintings
- Gas Pumps
- Police Officer Collectibles
- Old Dolls
- Firefighter Collectibles
- Wood Carvings
- Soda Fountain Dispensers


















Due North or Due South? It's Up to You.

As we mentioned at the top, this map includes each vendor area we currently know about and it will be updated as more information comes in. However, keep in mind that we cannot know every participating house and business. Therefore, this map and the locations are meant as a guide and not a definitive listing of what you'll find along the 301 Endless Yard Sale route.

301 Endless Yard Sale Map
For up-to-date information visit the website, www.301endlessyardsale.com, and follow us on Facebook.




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Beer Wine & Shine Trail

beer wine and shine trail logo

Travel around the county to four award-winning wineries, two breweries and get a taste of brandy along the way!  Receive a Free $30 coupon book when you complete the trail.


Meeting Planners

meeting venue with presentation screen

Johnston County offers conveniently located and affordable conference facilities for meetings, reunions, and unique destination weddings sites.  Why not select a historic home or horse farm for your next event?


Group Tour Operators

girl with camera in travel group

Groups have discovered exits along I-40 and I-95 for outlet shopping, music theatre, museums and heritage sites.  Call today for custom itinerary planning.


Hotel Packages

hotel bed and pillow with johnston county logo

We have created several special hotel packages including a Girlfriends Getaway for outlet shopping, we know you need a break and great deals on shoes!  Click here to book your getaway today.


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Check out what other travelers say about Johnston County, North Carolina on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor
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