If you need to drive across Johnston County on Friday or Saturday, you’ll want to take Interstate 95 instead of U.S. 301.
That is, unless you want to do some shopping along the way.
The 301 Endless Yard Sale will return for a third year this weekend, and the event has grown to encompass a 100-mile stretch from Dunn to Roanoke Rapids. In fields, parking lots and shopping centers along the way, vendors will sell everything from old clothes and appliances to antiques and collectables.
Organizers are advising locals to plan around the event, as they expect more than 5,000 shoppers and more than 500 dealers, families and nonprofits to set up shop along the north-south thoroughfare.
“We are asking people to be patient, to be cautious and to look for pedestrian traffic,” said Ashby Brame, marketing manager for the Johnston County Visitors Bureau.
On Friday, the Great American Country channel will shoot an episode of its reality game show “Endless Yard Sale.” The competition pits three teams of two contestants against each other to find the best bargains at a given yard sale on a given budget. Along the way, the host surprises the participants with shopping challenges. At the end, an appraiser tallies up their profits, and the winners walk away with cash, prizes and the loot they purchased.
Donna Bailey-Taylor is head of the Visitors Bureau and an organizer of the yard sale. “We are beyond excited to be chosen and wish all the contestants a ton of luck,” she said in a statement. The show’s concept is “certainly exhilarating and makes for great television.”
The idea for the 301 Endless Yard Sale came from Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver and local retailer Tony Abdalla. They drew inspiration from The World’s Longest Yard Sale, which Abdalla attends each year. That event stretches more than 600 miles along U.S. 127, from Michigan to Alabama.
The 301 Endless Yard Sale has grown each year since it started, Bailey-Taylor said, and the plan is to keep expanding for years to come. Towns taking part this include Smithfield, Selma, Four Oaks, Benson, Kenly, Micro, Dunn, Wilson, Roanoke Rapids and Rocky Mount.
“Who knows, maybe one day it will run the complete 301 highway from Delaware to Florida,” Bailey-Taylor said.
For more information, including an interactive map of vendor locations, visit 301EndlessYardSale.com.
301 Endless Yard Sale
What: Outdoor flea market stretching along U.S. 301 from Dunn to Roanoke Rapids.
When: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.