This year’s 301 Endless Yard Sale is June 17th and 18th. Founded in Selma and now hosted by a variety of towns located along US 301 in the counties of Johnston, Halifax, Wilson, Nash, and Harnett, the annual 301 Endless Yard Sale takes place the 3rd Friday and Saturday of June annually. Along the 100-mile plus stretch of highway, the event offers deals, antiques, collectibles, DIY furniture, crafts, and more.
Celebrating a mile-stone 10th anniversary this year, the event attracts over 15,000 shoppers, and over 2,500 vendors, every year to sell or buy. People often stay overnight in the area to take advantage of the two full days of the sale, and hopefully cover the entire 100+ miles.
Michael Rhodes, Director of the Kenly Tobacco Farm Life Museum says that the museum has seen many great benefits from being a vendor location along the sale route in the northern part of the county, “with over 2,000 visitors a day, artists and local vendors have been able to promote their goods and leave with a return on their investment. But the greatest benefit for us is the new faces, and friends we make, who inevitably come back again to shop or tour the museum.”
The museum charges vendors a nominal fee to set-up, and also sells concession items to help raise money for programming, “we are in the middle of the route, so anyone can make us part of their trip wherever they start. The shade, public bathrooms, and concessions create a comfortable environment to stay all day or to browse before heading to the next location.”
The four other participating counties have visitors bureaus that work with the Johnston County Visitors Bureau to plan and promote the sale by managing the website and the social media for the sale. Over 22,000 people follow the Facebook page and the months leading up to the event find shoppers, vendors, past participants, and first-time attendees enthusiastically reacting to and sharing posts.
“We work to promote the event, encourage vendor locations, and keep an open line of communication between local stores, restaurants, residents, and county officials,” said Ashby Brame, Director of Marketing & PR for the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, “but, we’re just the middleman. The vendors work with local businesses to set-up booth space and the shoppers come to buy from the vendors. Really, we could probably step out of the way and everyone would still show up. People are very enthusiastic about this sale.”
Tommy Abdalla is a local businessman and hobbyist antique collector; he is responsible for organizing the vendor location at South Johnston High School in the southern part of JoCo, “this is a 10 year successful event promoting the beauty of North Carolina’s backroads and the friendliness of our residents. We pride ourselves with bringing in people from over 20 states who not only shop the sale, but eat in local restaurants and stay in local hotels.”
Abdalla sells at, but also shops, the sale every year and says that you never know what you’ll find, “you see things that you grew up with like farm tools, fishing equipment, collectables, furniture, antiques, toys; most anything imaginable. Personally I found a local cookbook that had several of my aunt’s recipes in it!”