Mike Walker, a Fentress County official, had an idea for the sale in 1987 as a way to draw visitors from interstates to the back roads. That year, county officials planned a route in KY and TN and compiled a list of nearby attractions for people to visit. The Fentress County Chamber of Commerce serves as the headquarters for the sale. Since then, the event officially known as the 127 sale after its initial route has grown to cover 690 miles, from Gadsden, Ala. to Hudson, MI. The sale has been featured on HGTV and the Tonight Show, as well as in Southern Living, Country Living, USA Today and Newsweek.
As continuous as it can be given the roads in rural areas. Through Alabama, some roadsides are not conducive to setting up vendor booths, either because of deep ditches or lack of access, but it’s unusual to drive far without the sale picking back up. Some people rent their fields to vendors, some set up booths in their yards. Others take advantage of empty roadside buildings each year. You’ll see a wide variety of sellers, buyers and merchandise. The Fentress County Chamber of Commerce advises visitors to honor requests of No Parking orNo Trespassing posted by folks who are not participating in the sale–cars leave deep tire ruts on a soft lawn.
Becoming a vendor is quiet easy. You will find contact information for some of the folks who have provided us with their space information under the “vendor” link on this website. Space prices will vary from place to place. If you are a food vendor and are selling prepackaged food a permit will not be required. If you are a food vendor who is selling prepared foods a permit is required. Someone from the local health department will come to your booth and inspect and a permit will be given at that time.
Lodging will vary from place to place. In the more populated areas on the route hotels and motels are easier found. In some of the rural areas of the sale those particular accommodations may be difficult to find. A list of lodging facilities are listed on this website, along with a map showing lodging for the entirety of the sale. Some folks choose to pick an area on the route and make that their designated area. If you choose to do so, that can make finding lodging somewhat easier. If you choose to travel on the sale without a designated area in mind you will want to search for available lodging near the area you are in. There are campgrounds, guesthouses, B & B’s, hotels/motels and other types of lodging to be found on the route.