WARRENSBURG - Don Bagwell rolled his eyes Monday as he looked at a weather forecast that calls for rain though Saturday and Sunday, during the annual World's Largest Garage Sale weekend in Warrensburg.
Probability of showers means that he's going to be setting up five commercial tents for vendors selling goods at QVN Motors on upper Main St.
"I'm not too enthusiastic about setting up those tents, but I gotta do what I gotta do," he said. "Whoever sells umbrellas is going to move a lot of them this weekend."
With rain expected, advance registrations for commercial vendors for the World's Largest Garage Sale have decreased about 10 percent, authorities said.
But even with a decrease, the World's Largest sale will still be a blockbuster event, Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Smith said Monday.
"This doesn't change anything," she said. "Rain or shine, it's inevitable we'll have a huge crowd of people here.
Annually, up to 70,000 or so flock to Warrensburg for the World's Largest Garage Sale.
It has attracted national attention, and its fame has endured for decades.
The Sale has set records and launched knock-off events. It's helped local families cope with winter fuel bills. It's earned its place in the Guinness Book of Records. Most of all, it's given tens of thousands of people a reason to visit Warrensburg and experience the town's charm.
For two days, the streets of Warrensburg are awash in humanity and vehicles cram the town for a two-day frenzy of bargain hunting.
Both Saturday and Sunday, a swarming mile-long crowd browses amongst wares from hundreds of vendors and 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 begins this year at 9 a.m. Sat. Oct. 3 and runs until 6 p.m., with the same hours for Sun. Oct. 4 - and these are just the sanctioned hours. The advance sales start up to two days earlier.
Residents extend a warm welcome to all visitors regardless of the traffic and inconvenience. They 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 routinely hosted during the Garage Sale Weekend.
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 home-cooked food prepared by local churches and community organizations.
New this year are vendors of international food, including Greek fare, Smith said. Also a novel addition to the Sale is a gift basket of goods and services donated by local businesses. Raffle tickets can be bought at various locations through town.
Here's the scoop on how to avoid frustration of crushing traffic and maximizing time bargain-hunting.
•Arrive on Thursday or Friday, check into an area inn or motel, or get into town before 7:15 a.m. on the weekend. A lot of vendors are setting up before the weekend, and many savvy shoppers who know this are getting "first pick" of a wide range of wares.
•If you do arrive on the weekend, get into Warrensburg as early as possible, and take the Northway to exits 22, 24 or 25.
•Avoid Northway Exit 23, the primary road into Warrensburg, since it becomes very congested. By 8:30 or 9 a.m. Saturday, traffic can be backed up for nearly two miles onto I-87 Northway. If you can make it off Exit 213, take a right turn to go via East Schroon River Rd. and follow signs to a free parking lot north of town 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 at the county fairgrounds where shuttle buses will take visitors in and out of town.
•Or, from Northway Exit 25, head south out of Chestertown on Route 9 into Warrensburg.