More than 100 vendors are booked for slots around the town square and along Main Street, while more than 10,000 shoppers are expected to come a looking.
As for good eats, kettle corn, funnel cake, corn on the cob, burgers, barbecue, fish, ice cream, shaved ice and the now-famous and delicious chicken-on-a-stick will be available. There will also be sloppy pockets, so folks can eat and run with one hand while shopping with the other.
Camel rides are back (you may wish to ride first before you eat), and there will be health screenings (you may wish to screen before you eat).
Amero explained that the mile-long yard sale began as a dream 22 years ago between two friends, Jackie Chitwood and Nell Kane, who had a shop on the square.
“They were looking for a way to get businesses and shoppers into town,” he said. “Thus, they began a true, 1-mile-long yard sale from Round Lick Baptist Church to the square. Look at it now with over 100 paid vendors, church groups, school groups and other clubs encompassing the entire 2 miles of Watertown’s Main Street. Grass areas, driveways, fence lines, parking lots and parking spaces are a hot commodity that day.”
Amero, a Maine expatriate, operates Jim’s Antiques and has been in town since 1996. Since then he has had a hand in the sale in some capacity.
“At that time, Joyce Robertson headed it up. I took the reins about six years ago, and it has become a year-round job,” Amero said. “I field questions year round on the phone, and if you mention the name Watertown anywhere, people come back with, ‘We know of Watertown from the Music and Jazz Festival or the Mile Long Yard Sale.’
“I enjoy a challenge, and certainly this has been a great opportunity. I have a good rapport with the vendors. I know what they have, and I know what to expect from them, and they know what to expect from me.
“I don’t do this alone. I have Joyce Robertson, who helps with TV advertising, while Gary Reynolds and Teresa Folsom are my right-hand people on the big day,” Amero said.
The unofficial ambassador of Watertown says that all of the annual community events are intended to give guests a taste of the small town’s hospitality and ambience with the hope they will return another day to spend more time.
“I try to please each vendor with where I set them up,” he said. “Some want on the square, and I have to tell the folks looking for these spots that our regular vendors either have to die or retire before they’ll give those spots up.”
The planning can bring on an occasional nightmare, Amero said. “I do wake up in the middle of the night and think, ‘Oh, my, I’ve put too many people in one yard,’ or ‘I really know where I can place this person.’”
Amero shared that many of the homeowners along Main Street, who rent their yards to vendors for half of the proceeds, often donate their portion to the sponsors. The spring sale is sponsored by the Watertown/East Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, and the Oct. 2 fall sale will be sponsored by Historic Watertown.
A note to the public: Golf carts are permissible this year for touring Main Street, but not four-wheelers. As for the energetic man behind the big day, well, he poops out by late Saturday but rejuvenates with a road trip.
“I plan on taking a vacation the first of June to Maine, visiting friends and family, knowing the weather will be a little warmer with the ice off the lakes. I recharge my batteries, spoil my two granddaughters rotten, visit with my old cronies and do some antiquing along the way.”
Odds are he also will stop at a few yard sales, short ones only, mind you.
Ken Beck may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.