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World’s Greatest Garage Sale,

Saturday, September 11, Dome Center

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We're lowering prices over here!" calls a garage sale huckster in a leopard-print shirt. "That's what we like to hear," comes the reply from a group of five women with bulging shopping bags, swarming to a potential deal like piranhas. Savannah Acker, 7, wiggles nearby in a hula-hoop she just bought for a whopping 25 cents.

Somewhere in the mix of 120 vendors, Carol Whaley is keeping shop at a table laden with matchbox cars, mismatched glassware, and a wonderland of other miscellany. Her daughter Sarah, 11, proudly shows off the jeweled compact she bought early that morning for a dollar. "I end up buying more than I sell," admits Carol, sheepishly.

These are the joys of the World's Greatest Garage Sale, a thrice-yearly fundraiser for the Monroe County Fair. More than 2,000 people showed up, some of them lining up at 7:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the doors even opened. Among the vendors was Barbara O'Rourke who, with her husband Jim, who peddled assorted wares at three previous Greatest Sales.

Why did you decide to set up a table today?

I'm not here to make a profit --- I'm here to get rid of things I don't need. All the bargain hunters are trying to chew you down.

And do you let them? Do you reduce your prices?

Oh, I already started to mark some things down. This casserole dish was $8 this morning, and now it's $5. Anything that's left over, I'll donate. Why take it all home again?

Are all these things items that you had around the house?

Yes they are. Things we don't wear anymore, or dishes we don't need or use. You know, someone's junk is someone else's treasure.

Will you come back for the next one?

Oh, sure. Until then, I'll look around the house and see what we've got, and store it in bags in the garage. Then for the next sale, we'll throw it in the car and see how we do.

--- Meg Devine

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