From the first of June, 2005, more than 157 miles of the Historic National Road between Richmond and Terre Haute will turn into a veritable roadside treasure trove for five days if Patricia McDaniel has anything to do with it.
"People, traveling along the route shopping at the antique and yard sales along the way, get to feel the pulse of the communities they travel through. Brazil and the little communities all along U.S. 40 are smack dab in the middle of it all," event organizer McDaniel said in a telephone interview from her antique shop, Old Storefront Antiques, in Dublin, Ind. Her plans for this year's dawn-to-dusk Indiana National Road Association's (INRA) Yard Sale Days are well under way, but she would also like to see Clay County, and Brazil specifically, become involved. "It is such a fun thing to be a part of, whether you are shopping or yard sale-ing."
"Borrowing" the idea from the World's Longest Yard Sale that takes place along U.S. Hwy. 127 in Gadsden, Ala., to Covington, Ky., the purpose for the INRA Yard Sale Days is to bring travelers from the busy interstate system to the less traveled out-of-the-way scenic places while exploring U.S. 40.
"Everyone seems to love antiques and yard sales," McDaniel said of the public's interest in the event. "We anticipate that this will continue to grow bigger each year as more people become aware of it."
Last year's inaugural event, held during the first weekend in June, filled Henry and Wayne counties with bumper-to-bumper traffic. License plates from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama were seen on vehicles parked at sales all along the road as visitors to the event shopped for bargains, fresh produce, antiques, furniture and more.
"This event could increase tourism through our community," Mayor Tom Arthur said of the event, which was just recently brought to his attention. "This is an opportunity for towns along U.S. 40 to get back some of the traffic, and revenue, lost to the construction of the interstate highways."
At this time there are no plans for the city to participate in this year's event, but Mayor Arthur said that there is time for officials to consider participation next year.
"I whole-heartedly support the INRA's efforts to maintain the history of U.S. 40," Arthur said, then offered encouragement to citizen's wanting to participate on their own in the event. "It's a neat idea, and people should seize the moment."
There are no community participation fees for the INRA event, but merchants, participants and vendors are asked to comply with all state and local ordinances, regulations and/or permits.
"I hope that all the little towns along U.S. 40, especially Brazil, see the opportunities this event affords them, and they participate," McDaniels said. She is always planning for the next event. "Wouldn't it be great to get the entire stretch of U.S. 40 from Maryland to Illinois involved in the sale for the 200th Anniversary of the Historic National Road in 2006?" she said.