By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON–The thrice-yearly City-Wide Garage Sale at the Bell County Expo Center is a family affair, even though it's grown to a corporate-like volume since the business was started 52 years ago in Austin. It's been going on here since the late 1980s, scheduled now in January, June and November.

Christopher Dwyer, a Dallas marketing professional who is managing the show Saturday and today, said the sales were started by his mother, Sami, who also began the Sami arts and crafts shows in 1975. Those are scheduled for eight weekends this year in Belton, four times at the Round Rock Express Ballpark and four times in Lafayette, La.

City-Wide Garage Sales, operated by the Vintage Market & Event Co., according to their Web site, also run in Houston but are on hold right now. Most are held at the Palmer Events Center in Austin.

They advertise "fishing lures, shabby chic, depression glass, china, Americana, Texas collectibles, primitives, militia, architectural, books, pottery, vintage toys, estate jewelry, vintage clothing, coins, fine lace and linens, advertising memorabilia, chintz and antiques."

A stroll around the floor showed that those are just examples. Compact disks and DVDs were in evidence in several places, as were collections of vinyl record albums, baseball cards, knives and antique firearms, some with price tags of several thousand dollars.

Many items of furniture looked antique, whether they were or not. Big stacks of used clothing filled one end of the hall.

The aisles were filled with all sorts of people looking for nothing in particular but in a humor to haggle over everything.

Ruth Bigon, of Temple, had her eye on some china.

"I'm waiting until the end to go back and see what I can get it for," she said. "I come every year. There's always something, and some things are really worth some money."

Larue Conner, of Copperas Cove, and her daughter, Lauren Hinton, said they attend every show. They had some cloth goods and old soft-drink advertising signs.

"We find something worthwhile every time," Conner said.

James Cranford, a retired welder from Malvern, Ark., was in town with his wife because their daughter, Natasha Tollison, had a show with her drama students at Temple High School.

"I don't see much that interests me personally, but my wife is really interested," he said. "I tell you, though, all this makes me wish I'd kept a lot of old doorknobs and stuff we used to throw away on the job in Arkansas. They don't have many shows like this there. Texas has much more, and I'm telling my relatives that when they get ready to get rid of a lot of old stuff, this is the place to do it."

The sale continues from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today.

Contact Don Bolding at or (254) 501-7557.

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