Annual HP Garage Sale was a treasure trove of bargains and fun

 Everything from a foot massager to a back scratcher, from baby furniture to walking sticks, from Jewish cookbooks to a book on Indian cuisine, and enough clothing to fit everyone’s taste and size filled the sidewalks and spilled out onto the streets of Highland Park this past weekend. Thousands of people on Oct. 10th and 11th participated in Highland Park’s annual town-wide garage sale, featuring residents and businesses selling and/or buying a wide-variety of fun, funky and functional items on the sidewalks and stoops throughout the community. The two-day extravaganza featured more than 200 yard sale locations that probably raised in the vicinity of $50,000 collectively.

But for several dozen people, the two-day event was also a one-night happening. At the close of the garage sale (6 p.m. Sunday), yard sale sellers left a potpourri of items at the curb in anticipation of the bulk garbage pick up this week. One individual said the slow-moving night-walkers with flashlights are as much a part of the town-wide tradition as the day-time hagglers.

“I love coming out at night. It is like Halloween for grown-ups. People generally have sold the best items, or if not sold, they save them for next year. But sometimes you can get lucky – I got this sparkly scarf for my girlfriend,” said one of the after-hours participants.

Eleven years ago, Ballard Hutkin, real estate professional with Century 21 JJ Laufer in Highland Park, rescued this renowned town event, after the local chamber of commerce announced it no longer would be the organizing sponsor. Ballard decided that it would be a “perfect fit” for her office to step in and partner with the town(the Highland Park Department of Community Services) and more recently with Main Street Highland Park.

“It is a terrific event….Everyone has a great time. I get a lot of positive feedback unless the weather is bad! Weather not withstanding, the event brings people out of their houses and gets everyone mingling with their neighbors. On some streets, like Felton Avenue, it turns into a giant block party,” said Ballard whose Century 21 office donates signs, maps and organizes the merchant discount coupons.

Rebecca Hersh, executive director of Main Street Highland Park, noted that thousands of people come to Highland Park to shop for bargains every year during this weekend and advised the merchants “to purge older merchandise while participating in a fun and festive town-wide event….People visit one another and catch up on town news; kids sell lemonade; recorded and in some cases live music reverberate from the yards,” said Rebecca. She echoed Ballard’s sentiments about the weather. “Everyone loves the organizers – when the weather is as perfect as it was this past weekend,” she said on Monday.


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