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Posted on Sun, Aug 8, 2010 : 12:30 p.m.

Saline community joins in 212-mile-long US-12 Garage Sale

By Tara Cavanaugh


Saline Area Historical Society secretary Agnes Dikeman stands behind a table displaying the kinds of trinkets and wares that will be on sale for the US 12 Heritage Trail Garage Sale. The organization will provide space for 25 vendors in the Rentschler Farm barn on Aug. 13 and 14.

Angela J. Cesere |

Next weekend, you could be the proud owner of a coffin. Or discount makeup products. Or a pair of antique wine barrels.

Such garage sale finds are the kind discovered along the US-12 Garage Sale. The event encourages people in communities like Saline along the US-12 highway to host garage sales, yard sales, out-of-your-trunk sales, barn sales, and nearly any other kind of thrift sale you can think of.

US-12, the nation’s second oldest highway, stretches along an old Native American trail from Detroit to New Buffalo on the state’s southwest coast. It is one of 16 Michigan Heritage Routes, designated by the State Legislature to preserve the state’s historic highways.

Since the sale started in 2003, it has taken place during the second weekend of every August.

This year, it's Aug. 13, 14 and 15. People who want to host a sale can sign up on the US-12 sale website and put themselves on the map along the trail. Kim Gallagher is the chief organizer of the event. She said it’s hard to estimate the exact number of vendors and visitors, because some who sign up host community sales with many vendors, while others host individual sales.

Gallagher said that 15 different addresses in Saline are signed up for the sale so far, and two of them are large group sales.

The Saline Historical Society is hosting one of those group sales. The organization will provide space for 25 vendors in the Rentschler Farm barn on Aug. 13 and 14.

Agnes Dikeman, secretary of the society, said the turnout last year, the first year the historical society participated was surprising. “When I arrived last year to open up the farm [for the sale], there were people there waiting for me at a quarter to 8 in the morning,” she said.

“It just amazed me how much interest there was in this statewide sale. It was like a big celebration going from one sale to another,” she said.

Dikeman said the strong turnout prompted the society to participate in the sale again this year with donated antique items, and to host vendors this time, too. Dikeman said the society is offering 25 spots in the barn for vendors at Rentschler Farm, one of the society’s museum sites. Vendors pay $35. Vendors that have signed up so far will sell anything items ranging from antiques to children’s furniture to discounted Avon products.

The Pleasant Ridge PTA is also organizing a large sale in the parking lot of Union School on Aug. 14. The PTA is charging $10 for vendors to use the parking lot and has space for up to 200 different vendors. Vendors can sell items on a table, on a blanket, in their own booth, or out of the trunk of their car.

The PTA plans to donate the money earned from the sale toward outdoor equipment, field day, special events, speakers at assemblies, and extra things that the school is not able to cover, said Heidi McClelland, a PTA member organizing the event.

McClelland was happy to see the spots filling up fast. “It’s a great way to support the community, especially for the school,” McClelland said.

A few days prior to the sale, the US-12 sale website will post a map of the addresses of sales, so if you decide to go, you can plot your route, whether it’s across Saline or across the state.

Gallagher added that anyone who wants to get an official US-12 sponsored sign can pick one up for free at the Saline Chamber of Commerce. She said the signs can be reused every year because the sale always occurs on the same weekend in August.

The more popular the sale gets, the more communities along the trail benefit, Gallagher said. Smaller communities that participate in the sale find that businesses get a big boost from it, “because someone that’s browsing sales might want to check out the shops and restaurants in a town too."

Tara Cavanaugh is a freelance writer for To reach the news desk, call 734-623-2530.