Traffic on Route 11 this past Saturday morning was slowed to a snail’s pace, and cars appropriately appeared to be “crawling” along the road, bringing thousands of shoppers to the 8th annual Route 11 Yard Crawl. The yearly mega-yardsale was absolutely a bargain hunter’s dream. People from all over the east coast showed up bright and early to find the deal of the century on things ranging anywhere from furniture to comic books, and antiques to flat screen tvs.
The Route 11 Yard Crawl began back in 2004 and was created as a collaboration of the towns of Shenandoah County to help drive tourism and interest to the area. The crawl has since grown to include the Frederick County towns of Middletown and Stephens City, and now covers over 43 miles on Route 11.
Jenna French, Executive Director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, says that the yearly crawl brings with it a boost to the economy in our community, drawing in visitors who not only shop at the event, but also stay in the counties’ hotels, dine at their restaurants, and fall in love with the area. “The exposure we get with the Yard Crawl is incredible! “ she said. “Many people tell us they have driven on the interstate and passed by here a million times but never got off and ventured to Route 11 until The Crawl.”
Director of Marketing and Tourism for Shenandoah County, Natalie Wills, thinks that society’s recent acceptance and even praise of saving a pretty penny has helped with the Crawl’s recent success. “I believe the crawl is even more popular now due to shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars. And, of course, the economy. People are seeking good deals.”
And good deals did they find at this year’s event! Bicycles for $15, jogging strollers for $2, and children’s clothing for $0.25 were just some of the incredible deals to be found at The 2012 Crawl. Acoustic guitars for $15, magazines 3 for a dollar, and antique classroom desks were some of the other fantastic finds we saw along Route 11.
French thinks that for the past eight years the Route 11 Yard Crawl has been a win-win situation for both the counties and consumers, and has been very pleased by the cooperation of all involved. “The partnerships amongst the towns and county are incredible in supporting this event. Anytime you can have the support of so many different groups, you are bound to have success.”
She also believes that the success of each Crawl will bring positive recognition to the area for plenty of time to come. “We hear time and time again how cute and charming our towns are and that people can’t wait to come back!
Story and photos by Sarah Eaton