Yard sale roads lead to either a peach or a beach this weekend.
Peaches to the Beaches, Georgias longest yard sale, will take place Friday and Saturday, along U.S. 341, the Golden Isles Parkway.
The 8th annual event is about 220 miles long, linking the peach-growing counties in Middle Georgia to the beaches of the Golden Isles area. Along the way, travelers will find everything from yard sale treasures to fine antiques. There will be individual yard sales in front yards that face U.S. 341 as well as many organization sites. Official Vendor signs will identify each official Peaches to the Beaches site.
The official yard sale hours are 8 a.m.6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, rain or shine. However, some participating communities will feature yard sales on Sunday.
Rebecca McWilliam, director of tourism for the Eastman-Dodge County Chamber of Commerce, also is an executive board member of the Golden Isles Parkway Association which was created in 2003 to promote travel and economic development along U.S 341 from Barnesville to Brunswick.
The main goal of the Peaches to Beaches yard sale is to increase tourism and economic development in those communities that line Highway 341, McWilliam said. People traveling those two days spend the night in hotels, buy gas and visit stores that they wouldnt go to if not for Peaches to Beaches.
McWilliam said many communities pass out literature to shoppers describing local attractions in hopes of getting them to return to the area. In Dodge County, those attractions include a public fishing area and many historic sites, like the jail built in 1897 that has hanging gallows.
In the community of Chauncey, located in Dodge County south of Eastman, organizers are using Peaches to Beaches to help raise funds for the restoration of the historic schoolhouse.
The school opened in 1875 and was a one- room, one-teacher school. In 1914, according to information provided by Theron McCranie of Chauncey, a two-story building located at Suomi and used as a Masonic Hall was moved to Chauncey to be used as a school. No longer a school, the building is used for community events, but needs some repairs and updates. Attempts to acquire grants have been unsuccessful.
So during Peaches to Beaches, the old school grounds will serve as Dodge Countys official site. Along with other sales, a large book/DVD/CD sale will be held at the Chauncey site with all proceeds going to the schoolhouse project.
According to McWilliam, many civic groups not only volunteer at the event, but they also have booths to raise money, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and Boy Scout troops.
To get the full Peaches to Beaches experience, McWilliam recommends starting at one end and traveling the entire route, with an overnight stay about halfway.
When you come on the Peaches to Beaches, McWilliam said, you get a real feel for these communities. But you also will feel the appreciation that the members of these communities have for the yard sale goers.
Warner Robins resident Dannie Greene goes every year and has done the whole route twice. She stops at the official sites and the individual home yard sales.
All along the road, we stop when we see a sale, Greene said. You can find real goodies at those sales.
I like talking to people along the route, Green said. You learn the most interesting things about their area and about the people around the area. I just love talking to the people on the Peaches to Beaches.
The Peaches to Beaches website, peaches tothebeaches.com, has extensive information about the communities that participate in the yard sale. Dodge County, which just happens to be about halfway on the 220-mile trip, has lodging and restaurant information on its chamber of commerce website, www. eastman-georgia.com.
Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.