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Yard Crawl ready to roll along U.S. 11

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Crowds browse through the items for sale during the 6th Annual Route 11 Yard Crawl last year near Woodstock. Andrew Thayer/Daily file

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Related Links Are you ready for the Route 11 Yard Crawl?"
Related Links Route 11 Yard Crawl vendors - what & where they're selling

Popularity of antique-hunting TV shows a boon to event

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Without realizing it, the History Channel has done some of the publicity work for organizers of the Route 11 Yard Crawl.

Shows such as "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars" have become hits because of what appears to be a growing fascination with unearthing hidden treasures and cashing in on them. The yard crawl, heading into its seventh year Saturday, is mostly popular for the same reason.

Last year, for example, a visitor from Richmond turned two alabaster lamps she bought for $25 into a $1,000 profit after she went to get them rewired, according to a news release from the Shenandoah County Tourism Department.

"It's a really big trend right now," tourism director Natalie Wills said by phone. "It's got people interested in history again. It appeals to younger ages. That's really encouraging."

The yard crawl is a series of yard, nonprofit and business sales from New Market to Stephens City, and is sponsored by the county chamber advisory group. There is no set end or start time.

"It's impossible to do it all in one day," Wills said.

The event this year is her first one as tourism director, but she has visited it as a yard crawler and admits to being in a vehicle that did a lot of stopping and going. Brake lights, Wills said, is something drivers must pay attention to.

In the news release, Fire Chief Gary Yew states that motorists should pull completely off the road to park and that participants should be on extra alert for pedestrians.

Wills said she often hears from people who say they will be avoiding U.S. 11 at all costs on yard crawl day.

"It is busy," she said.

That's because people are descending on the area from hours away. Wills has fielded calls from Pittsburgh, Asheboro, N.C., and Annandale recently. In the latter instance, the caller was not searching for just any treasure, but asking about the availability of a first edition "Wizard of Oz" book, she said.

If that pursuit is successful, it may make for a TV segment some day.

"This is a good time to clear out your attic," Wills said.

T-shirts are available for a reduced price at chamber offices and various businesses leading up to the event.

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