The 24th Tree Streets Yard Sale begins Saturday at 8 a.m.
“You know, the kitchen sink is way too cliche — you need a mermaid,” Lynnea Hunter said as she hoisted up a faux bronze likeness of the imaginary aquatic creature.
The foot-tall statue shone in the Thursday morning sun as it beat down on the block near 512 W. Maple St., where Hunter and other members of the local chapter of the Philanthropic Education Organization Sisterhood were preparing for the annual Tree Streets Yard Sale.
The mermaid statue was probably one of the most interesting/unusual items for sale from them this year, which says a lot, because there are myriad items laid out on tables and in a trailer at their spot.
People often joke that you can find everything, including the kitchen sink, at the sale. The sale, which officially begins Saturday at 8 a.m., is in its 24th year.
According to the Tree Streets neighborhood website, around 30,000 bargain hunters are expected to flood the old neighborhood seeking deals at more than 100 sales.
All the money earned at the PEO yard sale will go toward grants, low-interest loans and scholarships for women pursuing higher education.
“This is the 16th year of us selling stuff for education, and it’s going really well,” Hunter said. “We have a lot of fun.”
PEO is an international organization dedicated to raising money for women’s education.
Hunter and her mother are both in the chapter and realized the annual yard sale was the perfect opportunity to raise money for their organization.
There are 45 sisters in the local chapter who collect potential yard sale items all year long, but friends also donate it to them knowing it will go to philanthropy.
Hunter was actually a recipient of a low-interest loan from PEO that helped her attend an out-of-state school.
“And I was really, really excited to get that,” she said. “It certainly helped.”
A local nursing student is also sponsored most years by the local PEO chapter.
“We end up sponsoring some really great students,” Hunter said.
The sale typically raises “several thousand dollars” for women’s education.
The ladies said the PEO site will be open Friday afternoon at some point, probably after they get done pricing all the items. About 10 or so members were busy placing price tags on clothes, lamps, decorations, board games and other items Thursday morning.
“It just keeps growing every year,” Hunter said of the PEO sale. “We’ve added the trailer in the driveway to house furniture. We have a lot of really nice stuff. We’ve got holiday (items). We have books. We have kitchen. Anything you could possibly want, probably.”
And then, there’s that faux bronze mermaid, staring off into the distance, presumably shielding her eyes from the sun.
“I mean, who doesn’t need one, right?” Hunter asked while holding the piece with a smile on her face. “We get all kinds of things, literally. All kinds.”
The PEO site isn’t the only one offering items you don’t see every day — pussy willow, vernal witchhazel, endangered Tennessee coneflower and other plants beneficial to insects will be sold Saturday at the sale at the Sister Cities booth, 600 W. Pine St. This is a joint project of Sister Cities and Jonesborough’s Ardinna Woods Arboretum.
For more information on the sale, visit www.tree-streets.com.