Van Wert area earns national attention
Convention and Visitors Bureau news
Van Wert has once again received national attention for its success in promoting the Lincoln Highway Yard Sale. The May/June issue of Midwest Living magazine contains a rather lengthy article about the popularity and growing number of multi-state yard sales.
Midwest Living editors contacted Larry Lee, director of the Van Wert Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, in April 2011 about their interest in making sure Van Wert was included in the article. Lee spent several weeks communicating with the editors and eventually arranged for them to meet with him in August 2011 during that year’s Lincoln Highway Yard Sale. Two reporters, a photographer and Lee met at Balyeat’s Coffee Shop for lunch and an interview.
“They were certainly impressed with the community, with the neatness of Main Street, the friendliness of the people and were really interested in learning more about Balyeat’s, saying it was a ‘page out of the past’ and unlike anyplace else they had experienced on their travels throughout the Midwest,” Lee said. “They wanted to know more about our history, the library, the courthouse, how the yard sale got started, and its economic impact on the community.”
The story includes several stops the group made along the sale route, the people they met, and some of the more unusual items they discovered.
“The photographer was fascinated with Balyeat’s,” Lee added. “Each of us had to order something different for lunch that day and, before we could eat, the plates had to be arranged just-so on the counter in order for him to photograph each one, and he took picture after picture of pie slices.”
The final story, as it appears in the magazine, contains a photograph, not of all the food, but of Dale Davies behind the counter, as well as several photographs taken at stops along the yard sale.
Midwest Living is a magazine dedicated to providing its readers a wealth of region-specific information and inspiration, focusing on travel and events, food and dining, and home and garden, as well as other editorial content categories. It is published bi-monthly and reaches 4.1 million readers, primarily in the 12 “Heartland” states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
This is not the first time in recent years that the yard sales have brought attention to the community. In May 2010, American Profile, a weekly supplement that appears in several small-town newspapers – including The Times-Bulletin, ran a story about Van Wert and the Highway 127 Yard Sale.
Van Wert is also featured in the June 2013 issue of Country Living – the official publication of Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives Inc. The magazine is running the second part of a story about the 100th birthday of the Lincoln Highway, with this segment covering the highway from Ashland to Van Wert County. The story highlights the Van-Del Drive-In Theater, the courthouse, Brumback Library, The Hotel Marsh and, of course, Balyeat’s. It also lists some of the activities that will be taking place downtown the week of June 24 as the local celebration of this historic birthday reaches its high point.
Lee invites the community to Fountain Park on Wednesday, June 26, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., for an old-fashioned picnic in the park.
“The national Lincoln Highway Association’s cross-country tour will be stopping for lunch there and we’re encouraging the community to come down and meet the drivers and view the cars,” Lee explained. “The picnic lunch is being prepared and served by the Van Wert Historical Society. Those taking part in the picnic lunch will be asked to consider a donation to help cover expenses.”
Later in the week, a new Lincoln Highway kiosk will be dedicated in Fountain Park and the Friday night concert in Fountain Park will be dedicated to the Lincoln Highway’s birthday. Music of the Big Band era will be featured by the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and an antique car show will line the streets around the park.