Fill up your gas tank and get ready to burn up some Hawkins County highway on Saturday, Oct. 1 where there are festivals taking place from one end of the county to the other.
Rogersville Heritage Days Oct. 14-6 may be the biggest festival weekend of the year in Hawkins County, but Oct. 1 is definitely the most diverse and most spread out. A perfect example is the 23rd annual 12 Mile Yard Sale.
On the first Saturday in October every year Clinch Valley Road (CVR) on the north side of Clinch Mountain north of Rogersville becomes treasure hunter’s paradise. Yard sales will be stretched out the full length of CVR between Rt. 70N in Hawkins County to the east, Rt. 31 in Hancock County to the west.
As if that’s not enough action for one day there are three other festivals taking place in Hawkins County on Oct. 1 including:
Tractor Cruise-In and Swap Meet: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Riverfront Park in Surgoinsville. Dash plaques to the first 100 tractors that enter. Bouncy houses for kids, horseshoes and food. For more info call John Williams at (423) 358-3791 or Donnie Morrison at (704) 223-0768.
Mount Carmel Fall Festival: 3-8:30 p.m. in downtown Mount Carmel. The town has partnered with the Mount Carmel Senior Center and the Mount Carmel Library to host the event, which will feature craft vendors, food trucks, bounce houses, professional face painting, local musicians and fireworks.
Rogersville Main Street Jeep Show: 4-9 p.m., downtown Rogersville. The second Rogersville “Jeepfest” of 2022 will feature hundreds of Jeeps in all shapes and styles lining the streets of downtown Rogersville (see story on Page A5).
“Crowded and congested”
For 364 days each year CVR is a fairly deserted place. There’s a few homes and a school, and on weekends a few motorcycle riders looking for pretty scenery.
That all changes on Saturday, Oct. 1 when dozens of venders will will line both sides of CVR, attracting hundreds, if not thousands of potential buyers looking for treasure from within someone else’s garbage.
Karen Berg is a resident, vender, and she maintains the “12 mile Yard Sale” Facebook page where potential sellers and buyers can ask questions and look for more information.
She’s not the organizer. There is no organizer for the 12 Mile Yard Sale. It just happens every year on its own.
Originally it was organized as a fundraiser by some local residents who were interested in purchasing the old Clinch School and converting it into a community center.
That project fell through, but the 12 Mile Yard Sale continued on, and this year celebrates its 23rd consecutive event.
Officially the sale begins at 8:30 a.m., but unofficially people start showing up at sunrise looking for bargains.
Berg noted that buyers start showing up at daylight, and by mid morning CVR is “crowded and congested”.
Some of the usual items found on sale include tools, toys, furniture, electronics, knives, guns, homemade crafts and clothes.
People also sell ducks, chickens, bunnies, puppies and kittens — and because it’s harvest time there are always home grown vegetables, fresh eggs, honey and homemade food for sale.
Don’t be surprised if more than one vender has a bunch of giant pumpkins.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of antiques this year, and furniture,” Berg said. “There’s a bus somewhere, probably down towards the school, that will have food. The Fire Department is having food, and somebody else said they’re barbecuing. I’ll probably have coffee and soda.”
Berg added, “A lot of people are getting on the Facebook page and advertising what they’re selling, so if you want a sneak preview of what you might find, that’s a good place to look.”
12-Mile Yard Sale pro tips
Berg suggests if you see something you like, get it, because if you leave and come back later it will probably be gone.
Conversely, she said if you make a pass on CVR late in the afternoon, that’s the time to get the best deals because venders are trying to sell everything so they don’t have to take it home.
Drive slowly: CVR is narrow and curvy, and venders will be set up on wide spots in the road. People will be parked on the side of the road, and walking along the roadway, so drive slowly and be alert.
Wear good shoes: Berg suggests wearing good walking shoes because you’re in a deep valley on the north side of Clinch Mountain, and the sun might not start drying the dew off the grass until late morning. The ground isn’t always level and the grass might be wet and slick.
Go potty first: The Clinch Valley Volunteer Fire Department sells food and has restroom facilities open to the public. There’s a Dollar General on Rt. 31, although it’s not known if restrooms will be open to the public. The only other option is at Bloomer’s Field, the large field where several vendors set up just west of the Rt. 66N intersection. Usually Bloomers has a port-o-potty. Of course, you can use your imagination on what that facility is going to be like, especially later in the day.
Bring small bills and coins: Even if a vender wanted to use a cell phone credit card scanner, cell service in CVR is spotty at best. Better to stop at an ATM first, but don’t bring big bills. Bring lots of $1s, $5s, $10s and coins.
Check the Facebook Page: Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, if you have any questions you can probably find the answer on the “12 Mile Yard Sale” Facebook page. If not, leave a message and someone will find the answer for you.
Sellers do some scouting: If you want to sell, don’t just show up Saturday expecting to find a place. Most selling spots are private property and claimed in advance. Scout the road out in advance, and if you find a place you like, find the owner and ask permission.
Beware of Rt. 66N: The best way to get to CVR is either on Rt. 31 from Mooresburg, or on Rt. 70N from Rogersville. Do not take Rt. 66N from Rogersville because it’s longer, more narrow and winding, and you have to cross two mountains instead of one to get there. Rt. 66N splits CVR in half, and there is a mile section of Rt. 66N that connects the two halves. Be careful parking for sales on that mile stretch because new culverts are being installed and the ditches are deeper.
Directions to the 12-Mile Yard Sale
From Highway 11-W in Rogersville take Route 70-N at the Rogersville National Guard Armory and it’s about a 10-minute drive north to the Clinch Valley Road intersection.
In Mooresburg you can take Rt. 31 north from 11-W which will take you to the far west end of the 12 Mile Yard Sale.