Bargain hunters, junk collectors and treasure seekers, rejoice.
Starting this Friday and running through Sunday, the sixth annual Trail of Treasures begins. A nearly 300-mile long stretch of garage sales that extends the entire length of Nebraska Highway 136, the Trail of Treasures is an annual event from the group Heritage Highway 136.
Judy Coe, president of Heritage Highway, said that the trail had started out strictly running from Brownville, Neb. west to Edison in Furnas County has spread out a bit in the past few years. Last year, treasure hunters welcomed in vendors in McCook in Red Willow County, but this year adds another county to the map.
“This year, it goes clear to Culbertson in Hitchcock County,” Coe said. “So, if we get Dundee County, we can advertise Trail of Treasures from border to border across southern Nebraska.”
Coe, who organizes the Trail of Treasures from Tecumseh, said that even though she spends most of the summer organizing the event, she’s never actually gone on the trail herself because she runs her own store.
Coe described it as a mix between a flea market and a garage sale. Anyone who wants to sign up may submit a $20 payment and be included in the guide. Vendors may include individuals, groups or entire stores.
In Beatrice, Rita Hydo’s Gems & Junk Thrift Store will be a vendor on the Trail of Treasures for the third year. One of the reasons she stays with it, she said, is because it a great way to sell your wares.
During the eclipse, Hydo said she saw increased traffic due to the influx of visitors to Beatrice. The Trail of Treasures is a bit of the same, she said. The more people there are in town, the more people there are who may shop at your business.
Partly decorated for Halloween, Gems and Junk offers customers everything from baby shoes and dog bowls to board games and hand-cut crystal glassware. Hydo said the store doesn’t necessarily put out special items for the Trail of Treasures, but they do work hard to get things on the shelves in time for the visitors.
“A little more on the antique end of it,” Hydo said. “A little more vintage things, that seems to be what a lot of people are looking for. Otherwise, we dust everything off, spread out the welcome mat and have a good time.”
Visitors may find a downloadable list of about 175 vendors online, and the list can be purchased for $5 on Heritage Highway’s website. Coe said she’s still helping vendors sign up for the event, and, for those willing to make the trek to Tecumseh, she’ll even sell each vendor an official sign to put up at his or her sale.
Trail of Treasures officials are expecting people from around Nebraska and neighboring states to visit. It's a lot of people, Coe said, and many will make an entire weekend of it.
“People from Colorado, they'll go to Brownville today or tomorrow,” Coe said. “Then they'll start out on Friday from Brownville and work their way along, clear back home.”