Asheville, N.C., residents Rita and Jeff Lawter crossed the mountains to search for vintage Pyrex cookware to add to their collection back home.
Jeff said the couple first heard about the sprawling sale, which also doubles as a fundraiser for local charity groups, last year and had already found some eye-catching items at some of the homes along Maple Street.
Though the residential streets between University Parkway and South Roan Street were crowded Friday, the historic neighborhood will be absolutely mobbed Saturday, when even more buyers and sellers will be on hand, along with food trucks, hot dog vendors and plenty of coolers filled with ice and cold drinks for sale.
The Lawters planned to drive back home to Asheville for the night, then return Saturday to continue the hunt for enticing secondhand items.
The sale, now a Johnson City tradition, put cash in the hands of neighborhood residents and frees up space in stuffed garages and attics, but over the years, it’s also transformed into a fundraiser for churches and charitable groups.
Each year for almost two decades, the Johnson City chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization has sold items to generate revenue for educational scholarships for local girls and women.
You’ll recognize the group’s spread on Maple Street, because it’s truly massive — the sale items were kept in a storage container for days before the event — and because of the prominent sidewalk signs announcing the PEO’s intentions.
If you plan to attend, the Southside Neighborhood Organization, the group that makes the yard sale possible, recommends starting early — although deep discounts can be found as the day wears on — and bringing plenty of cash. Traffic will definitely be congested, and on-street parking is first-come-first-served, so be prepared to walk.