It will be a final harvest of a different sort at Harmon’s Tree Farm this weekend.
Thousands of items, from antique vehicles to service station paraphernalia to holiday decor, will be sold at a three-day auction that starts Thursday at the central Lexington County farm.
“Every year people came back, we found we had to have something new,” owner Diann Harmon said of the 75-acre farm’s popularity for events like Halloween hayrides and Christmas festivities.
“It kept growing and growing.”
The farm evolved from a spot to cut your own Christmas tree into a homespun amusement park before it closed in January after 37 years.
Now Harmon hopes there’s a clamor for its memorabilia collected from across the Southeast — even the last batch of her homemade fudge will be available.
“It’s not your typical estate sale,” auctioneer Kit Young said. “This is definitely a home run.”
His Internet site feature 2,000 pictures of merchandise there.
As Young puts it, “anything that’s not nailed down” is for sale.
On that list are scores of signs with quirky sayings such as “On this site in 1897, nothing happened.”
It also includes two items of sentimental value to Harmon.
One is a mechanical horse that she says she rode in the 1950s as a child outside a long-closed store in West Columbia while her parents shopped. The other is a restored 1925 car in which her late husband picked her up for dates in the 1960s.
For the practical-minded, there are 23 tractors and other agricultural equipment as well as a century-old mill that ground grits once sold by the farm.
The farm closed not long after the death of Harmon’s husband Gerald last fall. That followed a significant decline in tree sales and less demand in other activities it offered, a situation she said stems from the recession and less interest in the past.
For Harmon, the sale is bittersweet but necessary so she can retire to the coast.
“It was my baby,” she said of the store on the farm that featured Christmas merchandise.
The farm six miles of Lexington — owned by the family since 1914 — also is for sale at $2.7 million. It’s been on the market for months with a few nibbles, but no one has been able to line up financing for ideas like a privately-run retreat or recreation facility.
There are hundreds of evergreen trees left, planted in rows.
While waiting on a sale of the site, Harmon still rents its halls for gatherings. A bridal shop operated separately remains open.
Real estate agent Robin Jones, a friend, is promoting the auction as a chance to grab a bit of local history reminiscent of when the area was more rural than suburban.
“It’s a piece of the community that many people can have,” he said.
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