One man's junk is another's treasure. That old saying is more true from Sept. 28-30, 2012, during the 9th annual Junk Jaunt. Thousands of people, including many from other states, are flocking to central Nebraska for the largest garage sale in the state.
"I told some of my co-workers, They were like why are you going to Nebraska? I was like, come on! There's like stuff here!" says Naomi Janovec-Easley, who came to the Junk Jaunt from Chicago. "It just seems like a very interesting experience. I know from just coming back here that there's all those antiques that you don't get in Chicago. Or if you do, the price is just astronomical."
In 2011, more than 20,000 people from 34 states and 79 out of the 93 Nebraska counties came to the 300-mile yard sale. Organizers estimated the event had an economic impact of more than $6 million in 2011, and expect similar results in 2012.
The Junk Jaunt not only brings more customers for businesses and additional income for individual sellers, it also helps local hotels and restaurants.
"People come in stay Wednesday already, I know there's been people that's been here since then, so they stay in the hotels, they buy gas, they go to the restaurants, they do shopping," says Liz Gerberding of the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.
And the Junk Jaunt is even helping those who aren't associated with the event, with some taking advantage of the influx of shoppers this weekend.
"There's a lot of garage sales going on at the same time that people did not sign up as far as going on the Junk Jaunt. But they know it's happening," Gerberding says.
There are about 575 vendors in 38 towns for the 2012 Junk Jaunt. Organizers say more community groups like churches and 4-H are becoming involved, selling food along the Junk Jaunt route to fundraise.