The 11th annual Bargains Galore on 64 event will be Aug. 12-14.
The roadside market of independent vendors subject to "just one rule," to approve setup on private property, will draw thousands of sellers and buyers.
Coordinators Frank and Linda Hiles of Ozark started the event 11 years ago after visiting the I27 Corridor, a yard sale of sorts from Alabama to the Ohio state line.
"We said, ‘Boy, what a good deal it would be if we could get that going here in Arkansas’," Frank Hiles said.
So, in their 60s, Frank Hiles, who retired from service in the Navy, and his wife "just started working on it."
Hiles said a lot of questions are asked about the timing of the event, the middle of Arkansas’ hottest month, and the reason is, "Here in Arkansas, August is a low point for our economy."
Hiles said that the thousands who come to the Highway 64 stretch of more than 160 miles, "absolutely fill up hotels and motels, and bring oodles of money in here."
The route has been extended this year, past Fort Smith, the traditional point of origin, and into Oklahoma. The stopping point will be Beebe.
Hiles said flea markets and local shops along the roadside will be participating, and high areas of activity are near Mulberry, Altus, Ozark and between Van Buren and Alma.
Hiles and his wife garner no wages from the event, though they are the team that initiated it.
The couple employ a treasurer who manages the $50 and sometimes $100 business fees given by chambers of commerce in cities along the event’s route, which are designated to promotional costs.
Hiles said items are as varied as the vendors who attend the event.
"People sell automobiles, trucks, antiques, furniture, clothes," Hiles said. "I’ve seen paintings, auto parts, and it just goes on and on."
Hiles said a popular item is children’s clothes, and the date of the event is not a coincidence.
"This is an altruistic event, and one of the reasons we have it in August is so that parents can pick up school items and clothes for their kids," Hiles said. "There’s a big turnover on that kind of stuff. Sometimes it’s only usable for a month, then it becomes obsolete. There’ll be a lot of baby stuff."
With the influx of visitors and motorists to rural and metro areas along Highway 64, Hiles said he would ask that drivers use "extreme caution."
"No one has been hurt but traffic goes to a crawl," Hiles said. "There have been numerous fender benders. People will be stopping short because they may see something, get excited and jam on the brakes. We warn local and state police about what day it will be so they can put on extra officers."
According to Hiles, vendors may be seen along the highway as early as Tuesday.
"Sooners" are beyond our control, Hiles said. "We’re just the coordinators. A lot of times, people may remain set up even on Sunday."
Frank and Linda Hiles may be reached for questions at the event’s phone line by calling 1-888-568-3552.
More information and a map of Bargains Galore on 64 is available at www.bargainsgaloreon64.com.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)