Renowned as the “Granddaddy of All Community Sales,” the World’s Largest Garage Sale returns to Warrensburg this weekend, with its incredible array of new and used goods from vendors as well as items offered at 1,000 or more private garage sales.
Over three decades, a local community event has earned national notoriety.
It's not merely a matter of its colossal size, it's the nature of the beast that consumes Warrensburg for an extended weekend each autumn.
The World's Largest Garage Sale has set records and launched knock-off events. It's helped local families cope with winter fuel bills and depleted 401k's. It's earned its place in the Guinness Book of Records. Most of all, it's given Warrensburg considerable fame.
Saturday and Sunday Sept. 29 and 30, Warrensburg will be awash in humanity, and vehicles will swallow this laid-back town for a frenzy of bargain-hunting. The sale's popularity is unquestionable, considering a swarming mile-long crowd annually browses amongst wares from hundreds of vendors and items at 1,000 or more garage sales in the vicinity.
Whether it’s collectibles, specialty or distressed goods, vehicle parts, antiques, old toys, vintage jewelry, household goods, tools — or virtually anything imaginable — it’s for sale at Warrensburg’s huge sale.
The event officially begins this year at 9 a.m. Saturday Oct. 1 and runs until dusk, with the same hours for Sun. Oct. 2 — and these are just the sanctioned hours.
The event is not just about bargains. There’s also a street-fair atmosphere, with plenty of carnival food: from “blooming” onions and fried bread, to ethnic food outlets and home-cooked delicacies prepared by local churches and community groups. For those seeking bizarre confections, this year there's deep-fried Oreo cookies.
The event, which lives up to its title, annually attracts tens of thousands of people. Some media representatives -- no doubt caught up in the frenzy -- have claimed several years the crowd numbered 100,000.
World's Largest sale coordinator Lynn Smith said this week that the event is likely to be larger than other recent years, as more vendors have signed up for 2012, due to a continued economic recovery.
"We have more vendors than last year, and the Sale is definitely on the rebound," she said.
Also likely to add to the crowd this year is more intensive advertising in the Capital Region. She also advised people coming from the Albany area to be aware that the weekend construction on the "twin bridges" over the Mohawk River north of Northway Exit 7 is likely to cause traffic delays of up to an hour. Motorists can travel up state Rte. 146 rather than the Northway and avoid the delays, however.
Smith had one final bit of advice to make the shopping experience in Warrensburg enjoyable.
"Bring your comfortable walking shoes and a lot of cash," she said. “There’s always an incredible turnout, and it’s a fun event.”
How to survive the great sale:
Here’s the scoop on how to avoid frustration of crushing traffic and to maximize youbargain-hunting fun.
•Arrive as early as possible -- savvy shoppers get the “first pick” of the wide range of wares.
• Take the Northway to exits 22, 24 or 25. avoid Northway exit 23, the primary road into Warrensburg, wince it becomes very congested. By late morning, on Saturday, traffic can be backed up for more than a mile. If you can make it off Exit 23, take a right turn to go via East Schroon River Rd. and follow signs to a free parking lot at the Warren County Fairgrounds and take a free trolley downtown.
•From Northway Exit 22, turn left onto Route 9 and drive just a few miles north to Warrensburg.
•From Northway Exit 24, go south on Schroon River Rd. and park for free at the Warren County Fairgrounds or at Warrensburg High School. Shuttle buses will take visitors in and out of town from both these parking areas.
•Or, from Northway Exit 25, head south out of Chestertown on Route 9 into Warrensburg
•From Friday Sept. 30 through Sunday Oct. 2, there is no parking on Main St. from the bandstand to Stewart Farrar Avenue and on Horicon Avenue, as well as several other streets in town. This year, the Marc Bruce Park at Hudson and Third Streets is off-limits. Those who disobey these bans are likely to have their vehicle towed.
•Motorists are urged not to block driveways, fire hydrants, nor park on private property without permission. No trailers or recreational vehicles may be parked along roadways.
•The Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co. will be renting out in-town car and recreational vehicle spaces beside their firehouse on Elm St.
Residents extend a warm welcome to all visitors and urge all to return and enjoy a visit when the true character of the town is evident — when there are 3,800 year-round residents here, rather than the tens of thousands filling the streets.