published Friday, August 5th, 2011

'World's Longest Yard Sale' starts early


by Andrew Pantazi
Carolyn, left, and Rex Ellison, of Ringgold, Ga., check out metal garden decorations at the corner of Taft Highway and Timesville Road Thursday at the World's Longest Yard Sale on Highway 127.
Carolyn, left, and Rex Ellison, of Ringgold, Ga., check out metal garden decorations at the corner of Taft Highway and Timesville Road Thursday at the World's Longest Yard Sale on Highway 127.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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Two boys waved tie-dyed T-shirts at a gas station while signs instructed drivers to turn this way or that for great deals. Farther up U.S. Highway 127, about 150 volunteers prepared for their big yard sale Thursday.

Jack Davidson, the founder of American Haitian Foundation, sold $700 in trinkets before he and his army of volunteers even finished unloading the truck Wednesday.

For 12 years, Davidson and other parishioners at St. Augustine Catholic Church have set up shop along the self-proclaimed World's Longest Yard Sale, a series of large and small yard sales spanning U.S. 127 from Gadsden, Ala., to Hudson, Mich.

Davidson said the yard sale last year raised $40,000 for his foundation's Haitian school of 1,000.

"You'd be amazed," Davidson said of customers' charitable giving. "One guy gave me a check for $1,000. He didn't buy anything; he just handed me the check."

The group began preparing for the sale July 10. The sale ends Sunday.

The sale is so large that the foundation uses two tents, one covers sports equipment and the other covers all the other stuff, like the $3 "Hannibal" DVD, the 25 cent shark's tooth and the $1 384-page "Bicentennial Portrait of the American People."

Everything, even the $3 gas mask bag bought by a couple from Tampa, Fla., has a potential home here.

"You have to sell a lot of $3 and 25 cent stuff to reach $40,000," said Allan Vessels, one of the volunteers and a board member for the foundation.

about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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