The 411 Yard Sale is returning the first week of October and prime spots are available in downtown Cave Spring.
Held annually since 2003, the sale route runs 250 miles along U.S. 411 from Leeds, Alabama, to Knoxville, Tennessee. This year the official dates are Oct. 3 to 6, Wednesday through Saturday. But Rip Montgomery of Antiques On The Square said they'll be ready early.
"We're starting to set out on the 2nd," he said. "People start showing up on Monday, but we'll start on Tuesday. We found out that worked well last year."
Spaces are available in what Montgomery called "the old lumber yard," which is a vacant area between his shop and the historic Vann Cherokee Cabin. The cost is $20 for the week or $5 a day, with proceeds benefiting the Cave Spring Historical Society.
"We probably have 20 or 30 spaces," Montgomery said. "They're 12 by 12. People should bring their own tables, tents, whatever they may need."
Reserve a space by calling 706-381-5037 or dropping by Antiques On The Square, 22 Broad St. — just off U.S. 411.
Many of the churches and businesses with large parking lots also rent space for the sale, but sellers also find spots along the road to set up.
The Greater Gadsden Area Tourism Board in Alabama plans to have signs up on the 16-mile route through Rainbow City and Gadsden in Etowah County. Shoppers can then head toward Centre in Cherokee County and on to Cave Spring.
Montgomery said the traditional route has been shifted to go through Rome, up U.S. 27, instead of following U.S. 411 to Cartersville. It moves back to 411 around Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"We think that's lots better," he said about the more rural path. "It works better on two lanes than four lanes where (drivers) get their speed up too fast."
The sale, in its 15th year, isn't heavily promoted, but a Facebook page and word of mouth keep buyers and sellers returning. Aside from the chance of finding bargains and oddities, drivers can meander through the countryside seeing local sights of interest and the change of sea-sons.
Those heading up U.S. 27 north of Rome on Oct. 6, for example, will run into Summerville's annual Sum Nelly Festival. The traditional kickoff for the Chattooga County city's "Steam Into Summerville Railroad Days" runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Dowdy Park. More than 100 artisans, crafters, food vendors and entertainers are slated to be on site for the free event.