Fifth annual yard sale spans miles and miles

Yolanda Almaguer, founder of the U.S. 281/Military Highway Texas Longest Yard Sale, is shown during the second annual event in 2016. (Courtesy photo)

The fifth annual Texas Longest Yard Sale, formerly the U.S. 281/Military Highway Texas Longest Yard Sale, kicks off today and runs through Sunday.

Former Brownsville resident and second-hand shop owner Yolanda Almaguer, who created the community yard sale event in 2015, said the name had to be changed because it is no longer confined to just U.S. 281/Military Highway, which ends in Hidalgo County. Now the event extends to the Hill Country, as communities north of San Antonio have signed on, she said.

The concept is based on the notion that multiple yard sales held during the same weekend along a particular route generate much more traffic than individual sales held on different days, benefiting buyers and sellers alike.

Almaguer now lives in Dripping Springs but is still closely involved with the chain yard sale along with Felix Espinoza with the Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Last year, they brought the Hill Country communities of Blanco, Bulverde, Johnson City and Spring Branch on board. Also, this year they’ve added Three Rivers and Premont, both south of San Antonio.

“We’ve picked up community yard sales along the way and nonprofit church organizations,” Almaguer said. “They would already plan their yearly yard sales, but now they’re coordinating with us. It helps us, and it will help them.”

The whole thing started back in 2015 with the stretch of U.S. 281 between Brownsville and San Manuel-Linn. Now it’s a matter of completing the chain and connecting the rest of the dots between the Rio Grande Valley and Hill Country, she said.

“We’ve got a lot of miles to go now,” Almaguer said. “We need Falfurrias, and after that we need George West and Pleasanton. I have been working on them, but nothing yet. I’m sure pushing it every year. I’m pushing a little more each year.”

She admitted she’s having a hard time getting the attention of the news media in her area.

“Maybe we just need to grow a little more,” Almaguer said.

A few more communities join up each year, and the group’s Facebook page activity is increasing, she said. Almaguer was inspired to establish the Texas Longest Yard Sale after traveling — and shopping — stretches of the National Road Yard Sale, spanning more than 800 miles between St. Louis and Baltimore, and the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which runs nearly 700 miles from Addison, Mich., to Gadsden, Ala.

She said she’s proud of how much the event has grown over the years and really enjoys promoting it.

“I’m not making any money on it,” she said. “It’s just a fun thing to do, just a fun thing to create, especially with those two that already exist. Why not us? We have the perfect corridor. I always say that. It’s cool.”