Fondly referring to its one-of-a-kind finds as “funky junk,” Ellen Archer underscores the Dixie Highway 90-Mile Yard Sale’s ability to draw shoppers off the beaten track.
Established in 2006, the yard sale was implemented to celebrate the road’s revitalization after the Georgia Legislature designated the Dixie Highway as a historic driving route. The Georgia Dixie Highway Association initially promoted the project through the purchase and installation of 126 roadway signs.
“The original purpose of the sale was to attract visitors into smaller communities that were bypassed by mainstream traffic when Interstate 75 opened,” said Archer, executive director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And I think it's been successful in doing that. But more so, I think it gives people who live in urban areas an opportunity to enjoy our beautiful countryside. We hear that often.
“The thing that sets it apart is that it somehow taps into a yearning for nostalgia that many people have. The popularity of ‘funky junk’ is seen by the Georgia Junkies 41 show that was at the Bartow County Saddle Club last May and will be back in October.”
To be presented from June 7 to 9, the sale will highlight numerous communities, including Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face, Dalton, Resaca, Calhoun, Adairsville, Cassville, Cartersville, Emerson and Acworth. Even though times may vary, sales primarily occur from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Envisioned by Carl Fisher to transport Northerners to the South in the winter, the Dixie Highway was built between 1915 and 1927. Once operational, the route attracted local vendors who sold items, such as chenille bedspreads and fruit, to travelers from Michigan to Florida.
“These days, all the CVB really does,” Archer said, “is maintain a Facebook page, maintain a list of locations where vendors can rent spaces along the route, and inform the public through the Facebook page where ‘hot spots’ of sales might be or where super funky junk might be found.
“It's interesting to me that the Dixie Highway Yard Sale Facebook page has almost 13,000 friends. Inquiries on the 2019 yard sale came in as early as December 2018.”
In Bartow County, yard sales will take root along Old Highway 41 in Adairsville and run southbound on Highway 41 through Cassville. Later, the route will follow Highway 293/Cassville Road to downtown Cartersville and then Tennessee Street or Highway 293 south to Emerson.
“While early organizers thought it would be good to have an event or a reason to introduce the communities along the Dixie Highway, I am pretty sure that few would have thought it would bring so much interest throughout the Southeast,” said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the Cartersville-Bartow County CVB. “… there's a good bit more traffic in areas where there are many sales in one location, but in other areas the route will provide that scenic slower pace that allows for looking around and making some memories.
“… Having shoppers want to return is definitely the goal of the sale. Once [they] see how easily accessible our communities are, hopefully they will return. Everything the CVB does is with a repeat visit in mind.”
For more information about the sale, call the Cartersville-Bartow County CVB at 770-387-1357 or visit Facebook.com/DixieHighway90MileYardSale.
“People sell most anything,” Wheeler said, “and they can message through Facebook to promote their sales and find spots to rent along the route.”