Homegrown Shopping

Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale celebrates three decades

What started out as a way to bring attention to local businesses and revenue to the city has now turned into one of the most popular events in the state, drawing nearly 20,000 visitors and more than 100 vendors from across the country. And on April 22, the Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale (MLYS) turns 30. That’s 30 years of bringing treasure seekers, young and old, to the city so many love to call home.

In 1987 (its inaugural year), the Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale included a few dozen vendors along a one-mile stretch of Main Street. This year, event coordinator and owner of Jim’s Antiques on the Square, Jim Amero, expects more than 130 vendors to set up shop along two miles of city streets.

As it turns out, Wilson Living has a close connection with the event. Co-founder Angel Kane’s mother-in-law, Nell Kane, along with Jackie Chitwood organized the very first MLYS in 1987.

With the spring sale just weeks away, Amero says everyone is preparing for what they hope will be the biggest MLYS to date.

“After being cooped up all winter, people can’t wait for the sale,” Amero says. “It’s a great excuse to get outside.”

From antiques, collectibles, furniture and dishware to fresh garden produce, homemade jams and jellies, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps even more interesting than the “treasures” are the people you will meet along the way.

“When you bring out thousands of shoppers and more than 100 vendors to an event, you are going to see some unique items and the stories behind them are even more unique,” Amero says.

With just a few vendor booths available for the upcoming spring sale, Amero is already fielding calls and taking reservations for the fall sale scheduled for Oct. 7. It might be a little hectic, but Amero wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The Mile-Long Yard Sale is great exposure for us. It’s a chance to introduce ourselves to new people. We don’t offer a put-on ‘come back again.’ We really want you to come back. And it’s another way to show our town off,” he says.

On April 22, as you stroll past vendors, you will be privy to incredible stories related to the individuals and the items they sell. While there’s no shortage of serious shoppers, most come to see the unusual and socialize. It is Americana at its best.

For more information, contact Amero at 615-237-1777 or visit Watertowntn.org.

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