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.
WARRENSBURG — For three days this weekend, the streets of Warrensburg will be awash in humanity — and traffic will be backed up for miles — as people cram the town for frenzied bargain hunting at the annual World’s Largest Garage Sale event.
Both Saturday and Sunday, a swarming mile-long crowd will be browsing amongst wares from hundreds of vendors and 1,000 or more garage sales in the vicinity.
The event has attracted national attention, and its fame has endured for decades.
The community 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.
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 advance sales start up to two days earlier.
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.
A lineup of local musical entertainment will be offered from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the uptown Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand.
The vendor registrations have dropped somewhat this year, event coordinator Lynn Smith said several days before the sale. But the variety and quality of wares to be offered have likely increased, she added.
“There’s always an incredible turnout, and it’s a fun event,” she said. “It’s a beautiful time of year for people to get out and enjoy the weather while they can.”
Smith and others have said the 1,000 or more private sales yield a wide variety of treasures.
“The real bargains are on the side streets from the private property owners,” she said. “Great bargains on collectibles can be found all over town each year.”
Hints for stress-free shopping:
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 the 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 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 at the 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
•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. Those who disobey this ban may have their vehicle towed.
•Motorists are urged not to block driveways, fire hydrants, nor park on private property without permission.
•Free handicapped parking can be found beside the Warrensburg Post Office on upper Main St. Also, 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.