What began 36 years ago with a handful of families getting together for a big lawn sale on West Ridge Road in Cornville continues this Saturday and Sunday with yard sales, barn sales, garage sales and occasional traffic gridlock.

Since that first year in 1983, it just got bigger. And bigger.

For the first several years, people called it the Three-Mile Yard Sale, when the sales spread out in both directions. Then they called it the Six-Mile Yard Sale.

Now the sprawling flea market selling baseball cards, plant seedlings, tools, books, farm equipment, antiques, clothing, military memorabilia and other items stretches for 10 miles from Route 150 at Cass’ Corner in Cornville all the way to U.S. Route 2 at the Kennebec River in Skowhegan. Sales also have spread to include side streets and roads all along the route and into neighboring Athens.

The annual yard sale, now known as the 10-Mile Yard Sale, has stretched beyond Malbons Mills and Dr. Mann Road in Skowhegan to space on U.S. Route 201 across from New Balance, said Janet Bernard of Nelson’s Candies on West Ridge Road in Cornville, the unofficial epicenter of yard sale information.

The Cornville yard sale has been a bumper-to-bumper shopping spree on more than 50 lawns, barns and vacant lots that are transformed into one long flea market — literally 10 miles long.

Now it’s gone beyond the 10-mile moniker, Bernard said Wednesday.

“You’ll find a lot of clothing, children’s toys, tools — yard sale items. It’s kind of a treasure hunt, really,” she said. “Some people will find something unexpected and be pleasantly surprised, and sometimes you’re looking for something and can’t find that one thing but come and just have a good time.”

Surrounded by candy, Janet Bernard, of Nelson’s Candies on West River Road in Corncille, said on Wednesday that she has been in business twenty years and every year there’s something different about the 10-mile yard sale, although one thing is consistent: It draws a lot of people. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

Spaces are available at the Centenary United Methodist Church; Boys Scouts will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs and fries; and the Cornville Regional Charter School will be renting spaces with someone called Rustic Whisper, who will be selling decals in honor of Cpl. Eugene Cole, of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in April 2018.

Bernard said one year her father-in-law counted 1,500 people who came through the candy shop on yard sale weekend.

“It’s different every year,” she said. “Some years it doesn’t feel like it’s that many people. Some years it’s a slow start, and then all of sudden they’ll start coming in. We’ve been here for 20 years and have been participating in the yard sale for that long.”

The annual event now draws thousands of people from all over New England and Canada. One year the event was advertised as part of the “visit New England” promotions on the Boston Red Sox radio network.

The sales now fill all the side roads off West Ridge and into Skowhegan, where the crowds tend to get pretty thick and parking has presented a safety problem where Malbons Mills Road meets Dr. Mann Road. Much of the way in years past has been a bumper-to-bumper shopping mall, with Stan’s French Fries providing a salt-and-vinegar respite along the way.

It’s often bumper-to-bumper in Skowhegan during the annual 10 Mile Yard Sale down West Ridge Road in Cornville, all the way to U.S. Route 2 in Skowhegan. Staff file photo by Michael G. Seamans

In Skowhegan, police Chief David Bucknam said he has assigned an officer to patrol the road to keep it open.

There also will be a parking ban on the east side of Malbons Mills Road from U.S. Route 2 to Prescott Lane in Skowhegan and the north side of Dr. Mann Road from North Avenue to Malbons Mills Road, starting Friday and in effect through Sunday.

The hours of the yard sales are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The weather for this coming weekend? Saturday, sunny with temperature nearing 62 degrees; partly sunny Sunday, with a high near 60.

 

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