43-mile-long yard sale: ‘You’d better tie it down or it’s going out’

dhinshaw@thestate.comSeptember 2, 2013 

Blythewood Presbyterian Church was one of many churches participating in last year's Big Grab yard sale. This year, the route extends along 43 miles of two-lane roads with yard sales all along the way.

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  • If you go The Big Grab 43-Mile Yard Sale

    When: Friday and Saturday, all day both days

    Where: Route begins at U.S. 21 in Blythewood and runs to Ridgeway, then takes off along S.C. 34 to Winnsboro and drops down U.S. 321 to Blythewood – a circle with I-77 running through the middle.

Folks who love to rummage through other people’s cast-offs, take note: Friday and Saturday is an all-day, 43-mile-long yard sale, running along two-lane roads between Blythewood and Winnsboro.

The only problem will be choosing where to stop along what they’re calling the Big Grab.

Organizers say there will be hundreds of yard sales along the route, daylight to dusk.

Phyllis Gutierrez was a shopper last year, at the first Big Grab.

She bought a lot of old serving dishes, some carnival glass and a couple of scarves.

“I almost bought a bed, but I didn’t have a place to put it, so I let that one go,” she said. “I was good; I only spent about $35.”

This year, at an event so popular it’s nearly doubled in size, Gutierrez is gathering with friends and family for a yard sale at her house along U.S. 21, just outside Ridgeway.

“I told everybody around my house to look out, you’d better tie it down or it’s going out,” she said.

She’s bringing power tools out of the basement and displaying old dishes and furniture on the lawn.

“It’s a wonderful time to get rid of (clutter), especially when you’ve got the traffic you know’s going to be coming through,” Gutierrez said.

“You know you’re not going to sit there and be idle.”

The idea for the Big Grab – envisioned as an annual event – started with Denise Jones, owner of the Cotton Yard Market consignment shop in Ridgeway and a board member of the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce.

“I wanted to show off our towns, because they’re historical and real charming,” Jones said, “and at the same time, incorporate an economic boost for the area.”

The first yard sale, a mere 25 miles long, attracted people from cities across South Carolina and neighboring states.

“You could hardly get through Blythewood,” Jones said. “It was huge.”

Not only are families setting up yard sales, but so are churches, businesses, school booster clubs – even the Fairfield County Museum, which is allowing other groups to set up tables on the shady lawn behind the museum, on South Congress Street in Winnsboro.

Director Pelham Lyles said shoppers can pick up everything from bonafide antiques and heirloom plants to baked goods and typical flea-market finds.

“We’re trying to bill this as a mini-mall of yard sales,” she said.

Terry Vickers, with the chamber of commerce, said because the Big Grab was so successful last year, organizers decided to nearly double the route into a loop.

“All along that route, there will be people set up,” she said.

It runs from U.S. 21 in Blythewood to Ridgeway, then takes off along S.C. 34 to Winnsboro and drops down U.S. 321 to Blythewood – a circle with I-77 running through the middle. “This way it will keep them flowing,” said Jones, “a continuous flow.”

There are no plans for traffic cops, so organizers suggest just being patient.

“And you need to start early,” Gutierrez suggests. “It gets hot and, as the day goes on, there’s more people.

“Wear comfortable shoes. And bring shopping bags.”

Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.

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