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Yard sale unites community

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SPRING HOPE — An Elvis statute, exercise bikes, a cash register, angel figurines, a small trampoline, Mason jars full of flowers, snow skis, a pogo stick and a popcorn machine were just a few of the items that sold Saturday during Spring Hope’s Community Yard Sale.

Sponsored by the town’s Chamber of Commerce, organizers allowed for 40 lots at $10 apiece. Every spot was taken.

When brainstorming ideas, someone suggested a sidewalk sale and someone else suggested a community yard sale, said Claris Bissette, a chamber member and one of the event organizers.

“It’s a smashing success,” Bissette said at 9:30 a.m., a half hour after the sale began.

All of the downtown shops got a good boost in business as well, said chamber President Allen Barbee.

Set at the historic train depot in the middle of town, the event brought out hundreds of people looking for deals and enjoying a sunny day after two days of stormy weather.

Stacy Creedmore of the White Oak community brought his wife Alice to look around and see if she liked anything. She found mostly Halloween supplies like bags and candy bowls.

“I saw it in the newspaper,” Creedmore said of the yard sale. He bought a couple of small buckets for himself.

Mayor Buddy Gwaltney, whose family sold old sports equipment, said he was impressed with the turnout.

“Big crowd,” Gwaltney told Barbee and Bissette. “We should do it more often.”

Bissette said she hopes the sale is held at least each spring and fall.

Retired from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools after 30 years, Warren Boone knows just about everyone in Spring Hope.

“I left for college in 1951,” Boone said. “Came back and tried being a farmer in ‘59, but there wasn’t much cash flow for farming back then. So I was a teacher for a little while. Then I was environmental director for Nash County schools, meaning I was responsible for water, landscaping, anything put on my desk and stacked up.”

Boone dug up some junk — including frying pans, wicker baskets and a “gently used” shovel — out of one of his barns. He had a little bit of everything for sale Saturday — except shoes.

Boone wears shoes now, due to diabetes. But there was a time he was known as the “barefoot man” because he went everywhere barefooted and used to race folks barefoot during the Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival.

All that barefooting around landed him on WRAL’s “Tar Heel Traveler” segment a few years back.

“Didn’t you used to be Warren Boone?” Billy Hunt, a decades-old friend, stopped and asked.

Hunt commented on Boone’s attitude and appearance being similar to Mark Twain.

“I grew my beard out one time to look like Mark Twain,” Boone said. “Everyone thought I looked more like Kenny Rogers.”

The two old friends reminisced about helping to start the Spring Hope Farmers Market.

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