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Spring for the mile-long yard sale

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While coordinator Jim Amero, left, prepares for the 27th annual Watertown Spring Mile-long Yard, Hunter Merritt, 9, right, and Aidan Pope, 10, members of Boy Scout Pack 150, are ready to sell their handmade birdhouses.

Got a riddle for you: Where can you take a hike, get a bite and find bargains galore along a 5,280-foot paved two-lane stretch of asphalt?

Answer: The 27th annual Watertown Spring Mile-long Yard Sale.

This year's event holds forth Saturday, April 18, along the two miles of Main Street inside the Watertown city limits. Numerous other sellers will be pedaling their wares along Highway 70, but that's not inside the official boundaries of this big deal, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

Coordinating the event for his 20th go-round is Jim Amero, who operates Jim's Antiques on the quaint town square and is known by many as the "mayor of the square."

"This time we've got the local Boy Scouts making birdhouses, the old reliable Forbes family with concessions going from Polish sausages to red funnel cakes, Perfectly Posh body care and treasures fresh out of the barns, still with the dust on them," said the Maine man.

"We've got many new vendors simply because this year our yard sale is not coinciding with the Nashville Flea Market. And Central Avenue, where the Nashville Excursion Train rolls in, will have at least 40 vendors as every spot on that street has been taken."

Amero has booked more than 100 vendors and says there will be items for sale ranging from socks, lawn chairs and tools to high-end antiques, sunglasses, musical instruments and everything in between to "one guy who just has junk."

The vendors, who must be ready to sell by 7 a.m., hail from such places as Cookeville, McMinnville, Old Hickory, Woodbury, Lawrenceburg, McEwen, Gallatin, Springfield, Manchester, Arrington, and of course, from H20 town. Local churches and school groups also will be holding fund-raisers and parking cars near the middle school.

As for good eats to be consumed on the spot, check out the jambalaya, nachos, tacos, ice cream, bread, cookies, cakes, pies, cotton candy, candied apples, kettle corn, peanut brittle and Italian ice.

As for more stuff, folks will be selling homemade jewelry, primitive furniture, repurposed furniture, metal and wooden signs, wind chimes, coins, sports merchandise, antiques and wooden pens.

As for bargain-hunting tips, the crafty antique guru recommends that shoppers bring cash, wear comfy walking shoes and be prepared to buy. "If you walk away from a deal and turn around, it may be sold," he warns.

"Shops on the square will be geared up as well," said Amero, noting especially the new Popp's Place, an ice cream parlor and sandwich shop in the northwest corner.

For those who may be interested in renting a space along Main Street, time is short and you'll need to see Jim on square as soon as possible. Spots lease from $80 to $180.

"We're known throughout the nation," says the yard-sale czar. "When you tell people you're from Watertown, they know we're famous for our yard sale, music festival and the longest-running mayor of Tennessee [Mike Jennings], 31 years."

Note that Goodwill will hold a donation drive noon-5 p.m. Saturday at Thorne Creek Storage, 8630 Sparta Pike, thus folks are encouraged to bring by their yard sale leftovers.

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