My Day at the Abita Springs Garage Sale
Abita Springs, LA
Every year the town of Abita Springs, LA holds a town-wide garage sale that brings people in from all over the south. This is the second year that I’ve known about it and even though I was excited to go it almost snuck past me! Last year I went along with my wife Noelle, our friends Rob, Josh and Elena as well as Noelle’s Mom and my parents.
This year we went without any company, traveling light means more room for toys. Last year I picked up an Atari 2600 with several games and extra controllers all in their original boxes and then had to lug that heavy son of a gun around for hours. We looked for a wagon to bring with us but ended up just going with backpacks. I had no idea how expensive a wagon was and it seemed silly to shell out $80 right before the biggest yard sale in the area.
I really didn’t know what to expect this year because of the random nature of garage sales but I knew I was going to have fun rooting through other people’s cast offs and I was hoping to find treasure. Last year I saw a TON of Beanie Babies, Fast Food toys and 90’s Comic Books that I know the owners had stashed away in hopes of making a killing down the line and this year was no exception.
We woke up early (for us) at 8:30 AM and got on the road by 9:00 AM, we live around 20 minutes away from the Abita Springs exit but it’s still a good little drive from there. I think we were planning to get going a lot earlier but I tend to unconsciously change the alarm clock on the weekends.
Along the stretch of highway between the interstate and the main town of Abita Springs there were homemade signs pointing all over the place to sales. We tried really hard not to miss any but there were a couple of signs who’s sales we were unable to connect with. I blame this on my innate fear of country roads that years of horror movies has pounded into my subconscious.
As we weaved in and out of the neighborhoods taking short hops in the car from street to street we saw just about everything you can imagine spread out on the ground in front of houses. The residents of Abita Springs pulled the guts out of their homes and laid them out for a few bucks, more interested in making space than in turning a profit.
Beautiful plants, baked goods made fresh, outgrown and outlived clothes, items for babies who’d long grown up, furniture, appliances and lots more were in abundance. I was amazed at the number of VHS tapes being offered up, some of them movies I wouldn’t have minded owning.
I passed on them all, mainly because I have no idea where I could buy a VHS player these days. CD’s, 90’s video games and, to a lesser extent, DVD’s shared slightly less shameful shelf space.
The Beanie Babies, Fast Food Toys and Comics were also present in force. It made me a bit sad to think that, at one point, all of these items had been scrambled for by the current owner. Visions of dollar signs must have gleamed brightly behind their eyes as they stockpiled copies of Ninjak or Warriors of Plasm only be stuck with a bunch of worthless paper less than a year later. I was happy to see a couple of young kids picking up stacks of comics on the cheap, those goofy stories might pave a path in a kid’s life that leads to something great eventually.
The people of Abita Springs seemed to enjoy themselves quite a bit during the garage sale. Despite the uncomfortable weather (quite sunny and hot) every single seller was friendly and welcoming to a fault, Noelle even had to force one lady to take money for a basket of fresh strawberries.
We ate lunch at the Abita Brew Pub, a fairly well known (locally) restaurant that carries all of the various beers brewed right there in Abita Springs. Neither of us ended up sampling the alchoholic wares, opting for rehydrating Tea, but the food was outta sight as was the glorious Air Conditioning. As a bonus with our meal there was a girl sitting across from our table who had Wolverine’s hair.
After lunch Noelle and I headed to the main event, the downtown core of the garage sale where vendors were set up all over a big open park. Most of these were more commercial sellers, many with items made specifically to sell and some with packaged items. It was here that I found the most toys, a booth full of nothing but cheap Chinese knockoffs of popular American products.
I didn’t have much real luck in the toy department, though I ended up buying a big blue dragon and a Lego Woody from Toy Story. It seems we were either too late for the deals or, most likely, there’d been none in the first place thanks to the recurring nature of this big sale. After all, one can only drag out their huge bin of classic GI Joe’s once before they’re sold forever.
One of the first places we stopped yielded one of the best pieces of treasure, a huge drafting table for $10. I’ve been drawing and painting more and more and it’s going to be super cool to have a high quality place specifically for my scribbling. Noelle also nabbed a couple of brass unicorns for a quarter.
All in all I think we did very well at the Abita Springs Garage Sale, all together we spent less than $100 including gas, food and our treasures. For that money we brought home the following items:
2 loaves home baked wheat bread (honey wheat, roasted garlic)
3 boxes of Tagalongs
huge knife from China
clear blue yu-gi-oh dragon
several stonework vases
My Little Pony that lights up and has glitter hair
My Little Pony opening house
several childrens books (Madeline, If the Dinosaurs Came Back, Peter Rabbit)
wooden roll top cd holder
2 hard shell suitcases (Samsonite!)
2 brass unicorns
hand painted unicorn ornament
At the end of the day Noelle and I were exhausted from all the walking around and just from being in the sun all day. We both had a great time in Abita Springs and I know we’ll be back next year, hopefully more prepared with a wagon and a lot of sunscreen.