Watertown Mile Long was a day full of shopping fun

April 20, 2009 – It was a fabulous day of sunshine on Saturday and the tables lining the streets for the annual Mile Long Yard Sale in Watertown contained old stuff, new stuff and virtually something for everyone.
Apr 20, 2009


April 20, 2009 – It was a fabulous day of sunshine on Saturday and the tables lining the streets for the annual Mile Long Yard Sale in Watertown contained old stuff, new stuff and virtually something for everyone.
At one of the first booths along the way, a lady was seen eyeing a couple of cast iron flying cows. She asked for the price and was told a dollar each, that everything on that table was a dollar.
The interested lady, rather shocked at the low price, remarked the cast items were old, to which the dealer replied, "Oh, are they? I just want to get rid of them and all the rest of this stuff because I'm tired of dusting it all." The buyer grabbed them up before the dealer could change her mind.
In the next yard space, one could look around and spy pink petunia baskets, polish sausage, a large pink umbrella, pink piggy banks, an ice cream maker and spice shakers that looked like books and books that referred to spices.
A bit further ahead, "almost 7 year old" Caleb Whited, a first grader at Southside Elementary School, was working like crazy to keep up with orders for his lemonade while his "Nana," Gail Purtee handled birdhouse sales.
Trish Williams of Joelton, Tenn., and Jerry Woodard of Hartsville, Tenn., return every year with their flatbed trailers full of goodies that range anywhere from lawn ornaments to swords. Sonya Lambertson of Watertown didn't set up in her own yard, but she was in the middle of all the action with her household merchandise.
Dee Hutchinson of Norene, Tenn., a stained glass professional and teacher by trade, was in attendance as a dealer for her 11th time at Watertown. This year she was offering a few different items than usual, particularly an antique radio from Hungary.
"My grandparents came over on the boat from Hungary around 1912-1915," she said. "They later gave the radio to my father and he gave it to me. I just thought there might be a collector out there who would really appreciate it. Besides, when I turn it on, I keep expecting to hear Hungarian music come out of it."
Louann and Dan Dyer of Madison, Tenn., were set up for their first time. They had been hearing about the Mile Long Sale from her friend at work, Dena Caruth, so they decided to check it out this year.
Louann said the whole thing was so overwhelming, it "made her dizzy," and Dan, a collector of hat pins, managed to sell some of his, but found a rare collection of them that he bought from another dealer "at a very reasonable price."
Susan Scott was running a booth furnished by donated items to support the Watertown Farm Animal Sanctuary that provides needed funds for horses, ponies, donkeys and all hooved animals except for goats.
Beverly and Ernest Patterson, who went into the concession business a few years ago, now do the Watertown event and the car show in Murfreesboro by selling their nachos and chocolate dipped frozen bananas and drinks. They said they do it mostly for fun, but with the economy like it is, every little bit helps.
The town of Franklin, Tenn., produced quite a few first-time shoppers at the Watertown event. Debby and Jennifer Vickers had arrived at 7 a.m. and were still looking for a Baby Pack & Play.
Then, four ladies who are friends and go to church together in Franklin got off the train from Nashville. Glen Livingston, Anne Segarra, Martha Putman and Anita Gossett go to estate sales and sometimes hit yard sales, but they said the train ride from Nashville and back sounded like great fun, so they were in Watertown for a few hours of fun and shopping.
Watertown's Jim Amero, coordinator of the Mile Long Yardsale, said he was very happy with the 100-plus dealers that were on hand and still calling for spaces right up to the last minute. He said he had expanded areas and people were here from all over the state of Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky. A new entrant this spring was Allison Greer's Camel Rides from Lebanon.
"She was a little late in getting here this morning," said Amero, "because one of her camels had a baby last night. Also, it gave me a chance to take my first camel ride. My dad was stationed in Egypt when he was in the service and always talked about riding camels, but I had never tried one until this morning. It was interesting."
"Everyone in Watertown works together and helps one another. We have what America is  looking for in a place to live and visit. I've had many really good comments on the event today and considering we were competing with an all-day ball tournament in Watertown and the Dumpling Day and Storytelling events in Lebanon, we feel really blessed for the thousands of people we've had through here today."
The Mile Long Sale was re-christened the 12-Mile Long Sale a few years ago because of all the yard sales that set up along Sparta Pike between Lebanon and Watertown. Those number of sales doubled, or possibly even tripled, this spring, probably because of the status of the national economy.
Richie Mourhess, a mortgage banker before that business started into a slump, and Larry Jackson, U.S. Army retired, who does events like these full time now, were two that were set up along the side of the road
"There's been a lot of people stopping, but not all are buying," said Mourhess. "Normally, this has been a good event to work and it may be yet as the day is young."
Both admitted there was a learning curve you had to go through in the flea market type of business, but once you got past it, it was "a whole lot of fun."
That seemed to be the case on Saturday.
Dawne Hagan contributed to this story.


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