LEBANON, Ind. — The historic National Road, known as U.S. 40 in many areas, has been loved by generations of motorists. The annual yard sale along its 824 miles adds another dimension.

The National Road Yard Sale will begin May 31 and run through June 4.

U.S. 40 passes through Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Built between 1811 and 1834, it was the first federally funded road in U.S. history and now runs parallel to Interstate 70.

Donna Tauber served as the president of the National Road Association in Indiana for years and is heading up the annual National Road Yard Sale, a tradition for many bargain hunters.

“The original intent was to create an opportunity for people to promote their communities. The National Road Yard Sale is meant to promote tourism and small businesses along the road,” Tauber said.

“There’s a lot of things along the road that many don’t realize are there like the James Whitcomb Riley Museum in Greenfield and the Hoosier Gym (where the movie 'Hoosiers' was filmed) in Knightstown.”

Tauber said the annual event is an opportunity for churches to set up bake sales, fire departments to host cookouts and fish fries, children to set out their lemonade stands and civic groups to hold their fundraiser yard sales across the country.

It’s an event for all ages.

“We have people all over the country come out for this,” Tauber said. “I just talked to a family this week that will fly into St. Louis from California and drive their way east.

"Many come to try the wonderful restaurants (in Indiana) like the Oasis Diner in Plainfield or the No. 9 Grill in Cambridge City. The first year we did this, it drew so many people, restaurants were running out of food and gas stations ran out of toilet paper. We knew we were on to something.”

The shopping and the deals available are also a pull for many, though travelers may need to think of it as a treasure hunt of sorts.

A map of the National Road is available, but specific sales are not posted because of the ever-changing hours and availability over such a large area.

“Every day is different," Tauber said. "We have people set up their sale on Wednesday for early birds and they might be sold out by Friday. Others don’t set up until Friday and will be open through Sunday.”

On the vendor side of things, it’s hard to tell what shoppers will be looking for from year to year.

Tauber said over the pandemic, many sought items missing from store shelves. One year, Ball canning jars were the hot-ticket item.

“It always turns out to be something you wouldn’t expect. I’ve found some really neat things over the years myself,” Tauber said.

She suggests travelers bring their own bags or sacks, packing material, small bills and a cooler of water.

Some also take note of towns they enjoyed and plan an entire vacation around the stops they didn’t have time for during the yard sale.

“It’s a great way to promote the National Road. You meet some really interesting people and I hope at some point, this event will turn into a community festival all along the road. It’s all about the opportunities,” Tauber said.

Follow Facebook at Historic National Road Yard Sale – U.S. 40 Sales for a map and posts from various vendors and businesses who plan to participate.

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