The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 18, 2010

Watsontown readies for yard sale

WATSONTOWN —  The best of small-town America is never more evident than at Watsontown’s annual community yard sale, when thousands of treasure-hunting buyers from throughout the region come in search of everything from antiques to video games, books, toys and household items.

But for the organizers, the sale is not so much about making money — although individual sellers might disagree — as about bringing the community together.

The yard sales started as an attempt to reduce the number of yard sale signs getting left on light poles in communities, said Melissa Rowse, yard sale chair.  “They have become community days of a sort,” she said. “One that require less organizing than other community events.”

“I know this is also a big fundraising day for churches and other organizations,” added Karen Bottorf, of Watsontown.  “But the yard sales are also a great opportunity to come into town and see people you may not have seen for a while. I’ve noticed as many people stopping and chatting along the street as there are shoppers. I think people mostly enjoy seeing one another.”

This is the 27th year of the town-wide sale, which begins at 8 a.m. Sept. 25, and continues late into the afternoon. The yard sale is sponsored by the Watsontown Business Association.

The atmosphere on yard sale day resembles a crowded street fair, and several organizations will set up their own yard sales to support various causes throughout the community.

About 166 houses are participating in this year’s sale, Rowse said.  

To participate, residents had to fill out an application and send in the $5 fee.  This gave the organizing committee a week to create the map listing and have 1,500 copies of the map printed.   

Maps are now available for pick-up at any participating Watsontown business or the Montgomery House Library, Rowse said.

Part of the fun, for buyers, is the concentration of sales, all in Watsontown.

“I’m not sure what the most expensive item ever bought at one of our yard sales was,” Rowse said,  but there have been cars, boats, bedroom sets, Wii gaming systems, and wood pellet stoves sold.

“I bought a $300 X-Box gaming system for less than $100,” said William Rhys, 55, who said he travels up to Watsontown every year from his home in Sunbury, “for a bargain. I resell at a Sunday flea market. This sale is a treasure trove for me.”

Rhys’s cohort and “picking” partner is Jefferson Martin, 25, of Shamokin. Together, they come in search of electronics, antique glassware and rare house hold items.

“That all sells,” said Martin. “I can spend hours driving to yard sales in the region, or I can come here once a year and really find some valuable pieces.”

“It’s also a beautiful town,” Rhys added. “I’ve been coming here for 10 years. It’s pretty crowded on yard sale day, but what a nice way to spend a weekend morning. Come next Saturday, we’ll be early birds. It’s the best way to get the real bargains.”

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