PENINSULA - The race was on as people vied to be first to discover that hidden treasure or overlooked prize hidden amongst the clutter. The Peninsula was a veritable smorgasbord of garage sales, stretching from Ocean Park to Chinook, as the World's Longest Garage Sale took place this weekend.
Everything imaginable from plants to furniture to toys and books was up for sale, creating a near feeding frenzy of shopping. Although 62 of the sales were advertised in the Chinook Observer, there were obviously dozens more being held. Signs dotted the road, enticing people to stop at this place or that.
Some of the sales were large, neighbors having banded together to combine their wares. Others were small, sometimes rather specialized, selling one type of item such as books or jewelry.
"Sometimes people are looking for something specific," commented one seller as a car slowed in front of the sale, then moved on.
Although the sale officially began on Friday, some were going on, quite successfully, as early as Thursday, such as the one set up behind the burned-out Red's in Ilwaco.
Thursday morning a wicker couch was on display. Thursday afternoon it was gone.
"That sold for $70," a shopper was told when inquiring about where it went. Clearly, impulse buying was key to successful garage sale shopping.
There were still plenty of books available, 50 cents for paperbacks, $1 for hardcovers, very reasonable.
The competition was fierce. Just looking at an object might attract other shoppers to that item. Unattended items were in danger of being snatched up by other shoppers.
And one car parked haphazardly in front of a sale seemed sure to cause others to stop.
"It seems to go in waves," said another vendor, videos stacked on a table in front of his house.
All kinds of strange items could be found by the diligent. One person walked away from a sale with a replica of a World War I lighter used by soldiers. The asking price was $50, but the new owner managed to talk the seller down to just $30. He pointed out to the vendor that Zippo lighters could be bought for only $20. This weekend proved haggling is not a lost art form.
Even if that hoped for treasure didn't appear, a good conversation could always be found as strangers chatted like old friends across wares. Family histories, planned moves, children striking out on their own, hobbies old and new, all provided fodder for interesting chats.
"I like growing things," said a vendor selling plants. "You know, they each represent work." Sometimes the conversations could end up in a sale. The shopper walked away from that sale with a large tub of rosemary, at $5 a great deal.
By the end of Saturday, buyers and sellers alike began to get a glazed look in their eyes. People began to move slower, garage sale burnout setting in. By Sunday the number of garage sales had dwindled with people packing up, and probably throwing left over things out, or perhaps, storing them away so they can try again next year.