Two days before the annual Route 11 Yard Crawl officially starts, some crawl spaces were already filled Thursday with people selling their goods.
“I understand that we’ve already gotten some calls that people have their things set out,” said Sharon Baroncelli, executive director of the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce.
Another sign that it’s yard crawl weekend is that area hotel prices are higher than usual, based on internet search results. The Comfort Inn in Woodstock, for example, has rooms from $145 per night. Next week, they’re from $119 per night.
“I have heard a tremendous amount of calls of folks coming to stay,” Baroncelli said.
Meanwhile, it isn’t clear how well the weather will hold up for the event. According to the National Weather Service, there is around a 50 percent chance of rain through most of today and a 33 percent chance of rain through Saturday, when the crawl officially begins.
The yard crawl likely will mean an increase in traffic delays, especially because Shenandoah County schools are now open. Capt. Wayne Sager, of the Strasburg Police Department, said that police in Strasburg will be at the intersections of King and Holliday streets and King and Massanutten streets today.
Sager said that police will direct traffic in the evening to make sure that school buses arrive at the schools and at students’ homes on time.
“We will be at those intersections morning and evening, but we will not direct the traffic in the morning hour unless it’s needed,” Sager said.
He noted that people should drive carefully and be prepared for delays.
“Obviously, the motorists need to be very aware and safe of your surroundings,” Sager said.
Most aspects of the yard crawl will be similar to last year. There will be a scavenger hunt this year, something the Shenandoah Chamber of Commerce introduced to the event a few years ago.
But the yard crawl will have one new feature this year. Inspired by the HGTV show “Flea Market Flip,” the chamber will invite people to find an item and repurpose it.
The chamber will then have the items auctioned off during AutumnFest. Half of the profits will go to the person who “flipped the items” and half will go to a scholarship fund.
According to Baroncelli, the idea of this new feature came in part because of her interest in the show.
“I love ‘Flea Market Flip,’” Baroncelli said. “I watch it all the time.”
She said that she hoped to have the show come to the yard crawl this year. But, she said, “They weren’t able this time to get their calendars in line.”
Baroncelli said that the show will be coming to the yard crawl next year.