Yard sales, flea markets, and auctions occur regularly throughout the area every summer. The upcoming Labor Day weekend once again brings one of the most anticipated of these events – the annual Hanover/Dartmouth College Community Yard Sale. This year brings about the eighth edition of this sale, which gathers together homeowners, and organizations selling an eclectic mix of used, recycled and antique items of all manner.
The sale is a joint effort of the Sustainable Hanover Recycling Committee, and Dartmouth College’s Office of Sustainability. Susan Edwards, a member of the Sustainable Hanover group, has organized the event for all eight years of its’ existence. “I get a lot of help,” says Edwards of the effort to put on the sale.
The sale itself results from a basic issue her committee works to solve, Edwards says. “How can we stop things from ending up in the dump?” One answer, it turns out, is the effort to organize an event bringing together sellers of no longer needed items, and potential buyers of those items. Edwards says there was a similar sale in Hanover back in the 1970s, and her committee decided it was an idea worth reviving.
There seems to be plenty of buyers and sellers of used goods, at least in Hanover in early September. “Spaces for sellers sell out, virtually since year one,” says Edwards. The spacious Dewey Field parking lot, where the event is held, has about 132 selling spaces. Generally over eighty sellers sign up to sell, filing up all the available spaces (some sellers take up more than one space). Not only does the lot offer numerous spots for sellers, it offers parking space for those arriving to buy. Buyers do come out in force; though Edwards does not have a way to track the number of buyers at the event, having attended, I can attest to the fact that there is regularly a strong turnout for the sale.
Edwards says those that are regular dealers at places such as flea markets are not selling at the Hanover event. The sellers are made up of homeowners looking to downsize, or clean out excess items they own. It is also a fund raising opportunity for groups and organizations that bring their own donated goods to sell. Though there are no food tents set up to serve breakfast or lunch, sellers may offer pre-packaged edibles, such as baked goods, for sale.
With the popularity of the event, a good deal of planning, and execution, is required for the sale to be successful. Edwards does much of the planning work, including registering the sellers, herself. Plenty of additional help is on hand the day of the event; “The town is very helpful,” says Edwards, noting that there is a police officer on hand in the morning to help with traffic flow. Young people from the Youth In Action group also assist, helping with unloading, set-up, and clean up chores. Other members of Sustainable Hanover are present to help, with Edwards saying she arrives at 6am the morning of the sale to mark off the sellers’ spaces on the lot.
Unlike flea markets and yard sales, where buyers often show up very early, the Hanover event has an official opening time of 10am, with potential buyers discouraged from any pre-buying before the 10am opening. Edwards says it is a challenge to keep shoppers from trying to buy before the opening, but she has come up with a friendly, yet strict reminder for those attempting to get in a little early shopping. Once the 10am opening rolls around, there is a line of buyers ready to descend on the lot. The advertised ending time for the sale is 2pm.
What will buyers find when shopping the Dewey Lot on September 2? Almost anything, from functional kitchenware, to rugs, artwork, tools, decorator items, and furniture. There is always a good selection of antiques, as well as used and vintage clothing, and various sporting goods.
Those selling at this event regularly find it a good venue to move their no longer needed items. Edwards says many of those renting selling space are repeat sellers, having been to the event in the past.
The 2017 version of the Hanover/Dartmouth College Community Yard Sale takes place on Saturday, September 2, at the Dewey Field parking lot, near the corner of Lyme Rd. and South Park St. Open hours are 10am until 2pm. There is no admission charge, and the sale takes place rain or shine.