Get Ready for Big Grab weekend

Kristen Benzini owns two Bits & pieces consignment stores on Main Street – one filled with home decor and the other with high end clothing for the entire family.

BLYTHEWOOD/FAIRFIELD – With a name like “The Big Grab,” one would have to imagine the event has considerable scope. After all, the word “Big” is right there in the name of the event.

But this weekend’s curbside crawl of yard sales might have been better dubbed “The Bigger Grab.”

The event that links Blythewood, Ridgeway and Winnsboro in a network of yard sales has grown and expanded this year to include more of Richland County and will run all the way to Newberry.

“It started out at 25 miles as a way to bring people into our communities and to enjoy small towns again, as well as a way to help our citizens put a little money in their pockets,” Terry Vickers, President of the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce, said. “Now we’re in our fifth year and it is up to 85 miles.”

Liz Humphries, owner of Blythewood Consignment, said her store is stocked to the ceiling with Big Grab merchandise, ready to sell. It is one of four consignment stores along Main Street.

Vendors will be out trolling the roadsides from sunrise to sunset this Friday and Saturday along a route that begins at Exit 71 on I-20 and travels up High

way 21 into Blythewood and on to Ridgeway. From Ridgeway, shoppers can follow Highway 34 to Winnsboro, where sales will stretch along Highway 321 Business and the 321 Bypass, looping back to Highway 34 and running all the way to Exit 74 at I-26 near Newberry.

The event was the brainchild of Blythewood resident Denise Jones when she owned a shop in Ridgeway a few years ago, Vickers said. “She saw the success of Ridgeway’s semi-annual sidewalk sales and envisioned a chain of similar sales running for miles along the open road. Since its inception, The Big Grab has not only drawn shoppers into local businesses, it has also drawn vendors from as far away as New Jersey,” Vickers said.

The event has also been a boom to local churches, who have capitalized on The Big Grab as a major annual fundraiser – not only selling their own wares, but also renting out prime selling space to vendors who otherwise would not have had a spot along the route.

Many churches along the Big Grab route will host food, craft and yard sale booths. Keith Bannister grabs a hot dog from Henrietta Palmer at the Bethel Baptist Church food sales booth during a previous Big Grab.

First United Methodist Church in Winnsboro has set the bar for other churches, raising approximately $5,000 last year.

Vendors will begin trickling into the area soon, Vickers said, setting up Thursday evening so they will be ready for the first light of dawn on Friday. Shoppers will just have to stand by and wait until day breaks.

“It’s exciting,” Vickers said. “My phone has been ringing off the hook!”

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