Five years ago, tourism officials in Virginia and North Carolina joined forces to create a multistate +100 mile long road market and the results are proving incredible for local residents and small businesses in the rural western regions of North Carolina and Virginia.
Launched in 2014, the multi-state event which encompasses more than 100 miles of Historic U.S. Route 21 now runs from Wytheville, Virginia, to Harmony, North Carolina, and features hundreds of yard sales, road markets and community festivals over the course of three July days.
The annual event was organized by members of the tourism organization known as “Take a Break from the Interstate,” (T.A.B.) a non-profit cooperative initiative whose aim is to spur economic development and tourism along U.S. Route 21.
“In its first year, no one really knew what to expect,” stated Wythe County’s Tourism Director last year, adding, “By the end of the weekend, we were hearing stories of downtown restaurants enjoying record sales. I think there’s no question that the event did what it was supposed to do – get people off the interstate and into the communities along the historic route.”
Don Miles, founder of T.A.B. said the annual event has a two-fold effect upon the towns situated along U.S. Route 21, “Not only is the Road Market directly responsible for thousands of monetary transactions, but it also gives the towns and residents along the route a sense of community.”
In total, the multi-state road market passes through seven counties and nearly a dozen local jurisdictions and the annual event has grown in popularity each year.
Organizers expect for 2019 to be the biggest year yet for the three-day event.
“I love it because there are food trucks set up everywhere you turn, there’s a yard sale in every yard, and in each little town, there’s some type of community event taking place,” stated one woman who had traveled from South Carolina to attend last year’s event.
2019’s US 21 Road Market is scheduled for July 26, 27, & 28, (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday).
Individuals interested in learning more about the event are encouraged to call 1-800-553-2322.
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