Route 11 Yard Crawl to entice bargain hunters to valley

The 12th annual Route 11 Yard Crawl, which features offerings from residents from Stephens City south down U.S. Route 11 to New Market in Shenandoah County,  officially begins  Saturday, but some residents are expected to set up early, and tourists have been reserving hotel rooms throughout the area, said Jenna French, director of tourism and marketing for Shenandoah County.

“It’s a great way to come together and promote the overall well-being of the county to attract visitors but also be a benefit to the locals as well,” French said. “It’s a time where the locals can sell their extra things and make some extra cash, too.”

The Yard Crawl will offer a new “best sign” contest, and will continue the scavenger hunt instituted last year, said Cheri Wright, executive director for the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce.

“We are holding two contests this year,” Wright said. “We have the scavenger hunt – people go and look for stuff. The list drops at 2 a.m. on Facebook on Saturday. We normally put stuff that you always see at yard sales. You don’t have to buy them you — just have to take a picture and whoever finds it gets a free T-shirt. If a group finds it, they all get a T-shirt. Also, whoever has the best yard crawl sign and sends it to me gets a free T shirt.”

The event will include businesses as well as individuals peddling wares along Route 11.

“We’re really pushing Massanutten Military Academy as the place to be at Woodstock,” Wright said. “They’re planning on having over 30 vendors. It has all the parking everybody needs. Our goal is to have one of those big spots in each town. Luckily Edinburg has two places. (We want there to be places) where we know everybody is safe and there’s food and parking.”

French explained the wide reach of the valley’s event.

“We’ve had people from all over the country call about the event,” she said. “It’s very popular within the mid-Atlantic area. We see outside vendors coming because they see what a great event it is. It’s officially a one-day event, but people are coming up as early as Thursday and Friday to get an early start.”

Wright agreed and said that the Yard Crawl is a great opportunity for Shenandoah County towns to show off to visitors and leave an impression in the hopes they will return.

“If you’re having a sale, people know they will get rid of things they never thought they could get rid of,” she said. “Our hotels are booked, our restaurants get overflowed. It brings so many people into the community. This is the best time for a customer service to capture these people and show them how great the area is.”

Wright went on to explain the amount of patrons expected at the event.

“I would say with traffic and everything we had over 3,000 last year,” she said. “I expect an increase because gas has been low for over a year. I think a lot of people are looking for those small ‘staycations.’ Already the hotels are getting booked. The weather’s going to be beautiful. This is something that people are looking forward to. It doesn’t cost them a lot of money and it’s something that people can have a really good time doing.”

Those wishing to participate don’t need to do any sort of registration, but the Department of Transportation and Shenandoah County officials alike require that traffic not be impeded with any yard sales and urge those who plan on having yard sales to also have parking available.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com