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Saturday Shoppers Step Out For Unofficial Citywide Sale
Four-year-old Ellie Rocha takes her time, intently studying the wide variety of books set up at the Friends of the Library book sale table along First Street during Saturday’s unofficial citywide yard sale. Marg Jackson/The Times

With many buyers – and sellers – wearing face coverings and plenty of hand sanitizer in use, residents by the dozens took part in the unofficial citywide yard sale on Saturday in Escalon.

The Oct. 3 event was not officially sponsored or organized this year by the City of Escalon, which noted that “based on the current COVID-19 conditions” city officials didn’t feel it was “appropriate to invite large crowds of treasure seekers” to the community. In the past, the sale has drawn huge crowds for the first Saturday of October event, many from the Bay area, Sonora, Sacramento and more.

This year, though not official, the city did say that “individual yard sales and garage sales are still allowed in town” but asked that residents follow the state and local guidelines as much as possible.

Many did just that, wearing face coverings while selling or shopping and tables in many locations were spread out on lawns to allow for ample distancing room.

On First Street, Sally Hale, Susan Traphagan and Cathy Ensley were among the Friends of the Escalon Library group that were working the used book sale table.

Hale said they set up early, on Friday, and did about $60 worth of business that day; after a few hours on Saturday they had already raised more than $150 from the book and See’s candy sales.

“That’s the Bell Ringers, that’s a magic show or the bubble person,” Hale said of raising enough to help put on programs for kids once the library is up and running again.

Traphagan serves as the used book sale coordinator and said she was pleased with the turnout as well.

Preschooler Ellie Rocha, 4, was spending quite a bit of time poring over the books, looking for the right ones to purchase.

“She loves her books,” said mom Grace Rocha. “We look forward to this day every year and today, it is fun to see everybody out, mask or no mask.”

Ellie’s older sister Avery, 6, a first grader, had already found some items to buy but Ellie was taking her time, making sure to get the books she wanted.

On Walnut, Mel Powell of Modesto was loading up a bright orange couch.

“My wife decided to pick up this beauty,” he said.

Seller Fred Kennedy said he and his wife Amy had “taken a couple of years off” from being part of the sale day but decided they needed to move some items this year.

“We were overdue,” he said, adding that for an ‘unofficial’ event, he felt sales were brisk.

“This was much busier, even though it was unofficial,” agreed Amy. “I think people were just so happy to be out.”

First Street resident Larry Anthony also said he was “crazy busy” during the day and was happy to be selling some items that he’d “been holding onto for a year” looking forward to the sale.

Traffic seemed down from last year for Joanne Bettencourt, also on First Street, but she was pleased overall with the day and seeing people out and about.

Over on Chianti, one resident had just a few items remaining around noontime, having “sold all the Tupperware” and some other collections of items.

One California Street location saw friends Monica Castaneda and Rachael Weldon joining forces to set up several tables of wares, everything from shoes to purses to books to movies.

“We’ve done it before,” Castaneda said.

Weldon added that the goal of selling off items was to “simplify” and do some de-cluttering.

And what were the hot items on Saturday?

“Cat towers and ice chests were the big sellers,” Weldon said.

Several items were set up on a table in the yard at a house along First Street for Saturday’s unofficial citywide yard sale day, with more merchandise on the porch and a ‘for sale’ sign in the yard as the house itself is on the market. Marg Jackson/The Times