BELTON — The weather may have helped the turnout Saturday for the Big Bell County Garage Sale at the Bell County Expo Center.
“I think it’s good that it rains on the day of our sales, because the people come in,” said Stephanie Turnham, director of the Bell County Museum, sponsor of the annual event.
For the last few years, the garage sale has been garnering about $13,000, she said. “That’s a lot of money for us, and we’re grateful for it.”
The museum uses the money to rent traveling exhibits, buy various conservation supplies needed to take care of the museum collection, and for advertising, she said.
This year’s garage sale had 96 vendor booths. Items for sale included jewelry, fishing rods, toys, books, antique radios, collectibles, antique signs, African masks, saddles, trophy swords, matchbox cars and furniture. Turnham said most of the vendors have been with the event for years.
“We sell the booth space to them,” she said. “Whatever they make is theirs to keep. We send out applications in January. Within three weeks, we’re sold out.”
The museum also gets income from the entry price. Attendance runs as high as 8,500 people, she said. “That includes the children. They have huge buying power.”
Debbie Lufburrow, of Salado, was shopping.
She said she sent something home with her husband. “I got two suitcases. I paint them and decorate them for kids’ dress-up cases.”
She also bought a projector, which she is going to make into a lamp. She’s a Realtor, but does “repurposing.” “I take old stuff and do something with it,” she said. She used to work at the museum, so she likes to support its fundraisers.
Barbara Horvath, of Copperas Cove, said she’s had a booth at the garage sale for seven years. She specializes in home décor and Polish pottery. She closed her store, Country Treasures & Antiques, but still operates online.
“I import the Polish pottery,” she said. “There’s a demand for it. I’ve been selling it for 14 years online.
“People like it because it’s very durable,” she said. “It’s microwave, refrigerator, freezer, oven and dishwasher safe.”
Arthur Resa, of Belton, said it was his first time to have a booth at the garage sale.
Some friends who were doing it had been talking to him about it. For five years, he said, he had a baseball card shop in Belton. “It’s kind of the same mentality.”
Big items were hard to move, he said. The biggest thing he sold was a surveying tripod.
“This place here is a good market,” he said. “What helps is people take pictures. They email their relatives. Technology is helping me out.”
His wares came from about two years of collecting, he said. He goes to flea markets and estate sales.
“I’ve met some antique dealers,” he said. “I’m learning. Some of these dealers bought from me and turned around and doubled the price.”
“I’m just going to do it as a money-making hobby,” he said. “I think I’ve found my little niche. It’s western stuff. It’s been a great day.”