LUMBERTON — Tiffany Locklear got to the Labor Day Yard Sale first thing Monday morning to scoop up some bargains.
Her 5-year-old twins, Addison and Cayron, were holding the evidence. Cayron had a new toy truck and Addison had a dollhouse.
“We got here first thing, and he saw that truck,” Locklear said. “The twins did well, but I did get some suits.”
About a quarter century old, the yard sale officially opened at 7 a.m., but the nearly 90 vendors began setting up around the Downtown Plaza well before that hour.
Junior Ward had found his chair looking was looked fatigued only an hour into the sale.
“Whew!” Ward said. “I’ve been up all night getting ready for this.”
From Tabor City, Ward and his wife, Nancy, are veterans of sales like this one. They sell a variety of items, including baseball caps, knives, jewelry, bows and cold Pepsi if shoppers get thirsty while browsing.
Organizing the annual event was Lumberton businessman Dick Taylor, who was in his office that overlooks the Downtown Plaza and the yard sale. Taylor said this was the 24th or 25th yard sales, but he could not be sure.
“I can’t find the records of the first one,” he said. “Years ago, at a meeting of the old Downtown Merchants Association, I mentioned that big yard sales were popular elsewhere, so, they put me in charge.”
Despite ongoing renovations of the Plaza, Taylor was pleased with the number of vendors and the turnout of shoppers. Earlier in the week, he had 20 empty stalls, but they were gone by Monday.
Vendors displayed a very wide variety of sale items. Tia Jones of Fayetteville came to help her mother sell Paparazzi-brand jewelry and brought a few original art works of her own to sell.
Jaikrrien Copeland, 12, was selling Hot Wheels and other toys. He tended a plastic tub with an estimated 200 small cars that he priced at four for a dollar.
“He wants a new game for his PlayStation, so I told him it was time to give up a few toys he didn’t need anymore,” said his mother, Star Morgan. From the looks of it, the young entrepreneur was closing in on his goal.
Lawnmowers and a stove were a couple of the large items for sale. Howard Hammonds of Lumberton had some small items on display.
“These are oils for body and home,” Hammonds said, looking over a display of dozens of scents, including mulberry. “I make most of these, and I have a little shop on Second Street at my car wash.”
Another vendor with a brick-and-mortar store on Second Street was Seasonally Speaking. The business displayed decorations that they make at their shop featuring witches for Halloween and horns of plenty for the coming change of seasons.
As the morning and the music heated up, the smell of grilled sausage and hamburgers drifted across the plaza. Eve Singletary and Paulette McRae, both of Pembroke, were running the grill.
“We do this at a lot of events,” Singletary said. “We go the state fair, too.”
And speaking of food people love at the fair, the Collard People were on hand. Glenn and Dorsey Hunt were recently featured on UNC-TV and are still enjoying their celebrity.
The Pembroke vendors are renowned across the state for their collard and cornbread sandwiches,which are not complete without a side of fatback. On this morning, Glenn was filling up the ice cream makers with ice and salt while Dorsey minded the cash box.
“I can’t keep up with the grape ice cream,” Glenn said. “Yea, I do the work ,and she keeps the money. Been doing it that way for 42 years of marriage.”
The Downtown Plaza and the Labor Day Yard Sale also look to be a long-running marriage.