Last Labor Day weekend, George Swager and Millie Mohr vowed to stop at every garage sale as they drove from Auburn to their lake house in Angola.
A few miles into their journey, they quickly revised their goal.
We never made it past mid-Auburn, Swager recalled with a hearty laugh Saturday afternoon in front of Zac Efron.
No, not The Zac Efron, but a beaming mug of the teen heartthrob plastered on a 17 Again movie poster, modestly priced at a few bucks.
So the husband-and-wife pair decided on a new game plan this year: If they couldnt beat the countless garage sales springing up during the annual classic car festivities in Auburn every Labor Day weekend, they might as well join them.
They organized their own barn sale along County Road 427, offering items as varied as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Thermoses and Three Dog Night albums.
In DeKalb County, where seemingly nothing but engine and elbow grease flows through residents veins, the early-September garage sale has become as ubiquitous as barking auctioneers and sputtering tailpipes.
In Auburns local newspaper, The Star, more than 70 garage sale ads blanketed two pages of the classifieds section Saturday, but local entrepreneurs agreed the weekend total is more difficult to pinpoint.
Auburn retiree Mike Sprague estimated several hundred browsers had visited his daughters driveway sale, with nearly 40 customers shopping at one time Saturday morning.
With still two days to go, the garage sales stock of baby clothes – most 50 cents apiece – has been halved, he added.
Its a good thing we got a big driveway, Sprague said, surveying the paved roundabout yards off County Road 427. Because they just keep comin.
Garage sale hosts agreed the county road provides an unmatchable volume of traffic this time of year. The otherwise sparsely populated thoroughfare serves as a four-mile link between the ACD Festivals two auction sites, one off Exit 126 of Interstate 69 and the other on the DeKalb-Allen county line.
Swager said the busy street was a big part of his decision to try out the garage sale market, as did Auburn retiree Dennis Cook, who returned for a second year of driveway retail.
Cook estimated hes sold more than $500 worth of his inventory thus far, with easily 100 visitors rumbling down his steep gravel driveway each day since Thursday.
The warm reception leaves him with no doubts about next years prospects.
We just keep doing this every year, Cook said. And we probably will for a very long time now.
In the back of his garage, Hamilton retiree Nan Beamer mulled over a fold-up table of oddball products, such as anti-virus software and miniature binoculars.
She said Saturday marked her 20th year participating in the Auburn festivities – but not the ones involving four wheels and a motor.
No, I come for the garage sales, Beamer replied when asked whether she was in town for ACD events. Oh, theres always something to see here if its reasonable.
Back at Cooks checkout table under a blue tent, he struggled to spare another minute to reflect on the garage sales success.
Oh, we expected that, he said as a father and daughter approached with a faded red golf putter and course rulebook. We definitely expected – hold on, Ive got to sell something.