ATHOL - The backroads and byways of rural Thurman were far busier than normal last weekend as the town's community sale drew hundreds of shoppers to browse through collectibles, antiques and household goods stashed in barns, on porches and spread out on local lawns.
The Thurman Townwide Sale, a staple attraction in the region since 1996, was held May 13-14. Sunday's installment was all but drowned out by rain, but the earlier two days made up for the slack-off, event coordinator Perky Granger said.
"It was wet and cold, but we had tons and tons of traffic - there were cars trailing in and out of my place back-to-back all day Saturday, she said, noting that shoppers at her sale hailed from such locations as Elizabethtown, Kingston, Greenwich, Granville, Massena, Vermont and Florida.
The 60 registered sellers in Thurman were joined by dozens of others throughout town, she continued.
The wide variety of goods offered at the various sale sites included a Victorian commode, wooden Radio Flyer wagons, jewelry, garden seedlings and perennials, vintage Tupperware, NASCAR items, camping gear, boats, tractors, and trucks as well as the routine yard sale items. One resident even had a For Sale sign on a small pony, Granger said.
"People in Thurman have some amazing stuff," she said. "There were miles of smiles and bags of bargains."
Driving over Thurman's winding roads offered opportunities to discover town residents eager to delve into conversations with browsers, she said.
Family antiques and collectibles were likely to spark tales about the town's rich history or experiences growing up in the lower Adirondacks, Granger said.
One of those friendly residents was Ruth Near on Dartmouth Road. She sat at her family home with Mary Cranker at her side, greeting people and tossing out gems of philosophy as the two sold linens, glassware, scenic photography, household goods and handmade items including catnip toys.
"Ruth is one of Thurman's official ambassadors," Granger said. "People come back here every year just to see Ruth and Mary."
Over the sale weekend, Realtors hosted many open houses, a new feature of the event. Most of those cruising through Thurman last weekend, however, were primarily focusing on the yard sales.
Also, the Thurman ambulance squad opened its doors on Saturday to meet the public, offer hot dogs and hamburgers plus provide rest rooms and free blood pressure checks.
Granger noted that this year, people seemed to know where they were going, thanks to the Information Highway. She said that unlike prior years, a large number of visitors had downloaded maps of sale sites posted on the town website.
"People turned out in good spirits, and had a good time," she said. "This event is really a fun thing here in Thurman."