Clinging onto three plastic bags full of items, a Seymour couple found several good deals Saturday during the third annual Parking Lot Pickers event.
Shelly Deweese said a lot of the items, including baby clothes and pillows, are for the kids she baby-sits.
She and her husband, Denny, said it was good to get out of the house on a nice, sunny, cool morning and look at items for sale all in one place.
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“We go to garage sales all the time,” Denny said.
“But you don’t have to drive around all creation and wonder if the sale is actually going to still be on,” Shelly added about the benefit of going to Parking Lot Pickers.
Plus, Shelly said, she saw more at this year’s event, which consisted of 45 vendors set up in the Walnut Street and Robertson parking lots in downtown Seymour.
“I noticed there is a lot of new upcoming projects that I’ve seen on social media where people are taking pallets and making household and gardening items,” she said. “I’ve seen that this year (at the event) that I don’t remember seeing last year.”
The couple agreed that Parking Lot Pickers is a nice event for the community.
“You meet friends down here that you work with and people you know and people you don’t see often,” Denny said.
“It helps the community because people use these kinds of things to help bring money into their homes,” Shelly said. “I just hope we see a whole lot more of that, people being able to bring their projects in to where people can buy a lot easier. I think people feel more comfortable being able to be face-to-face with people.”
Gloria Cullison, co-chairwoman of the event with Missy Bane, said Parking Lot Pickers started three years ago after hearing of a similar event in Bloomington called Junk in the Trunk.
The event is coordinated by Seymour Main Street. Cullison is on that organization’s promotion committee.
“This is something we could do really with no expense, and we can do it and make some money, too, for Main Street,” she said.
For $25, each vendor receives two parking places to set up shop. That money helps Seymour Main Street fund its other events, including the Lawn, Garden and Patio Show and Downtown Trick or Treat.
Vendors bring their own tables and items to sell, and they get all of the proceeds.
In talking to vendors in past years, Cullison said many of them average around $500 during the five-hour event.
“You can’t beat that for a Saturday morning,” she said.
Parking Lot Pickers was set up for 30 vendors the first year, but Cullison said there were more who expressed interest, so a few more were added. Now that two parking lots are used, 50 spots are available.
The first two years, it was conducted before Make Seymour Shine Week, so whatever people didn’t sell could be put out for the city to collect.
But this year, since that fell during Easter weekend, Parking Lot Pickers was moved back a week.
“It’s just the first of the season, and people are starting to get rid of stuff,” Cullison said. “Besides just getting rid of some of your stuff and making some money, people just have a good time visiting with each other.”
By having the event a block from the downtown, Cullison said, she hopes it drives business to that area, too.
“We always encourage the downtown businesses if they want to advertise a Parking Lot Pickers special or something, if they would bring us a flier or something, we would tell people, ‘Go on up there,’” she said. “It’s to get people down here a little more.”
Besides helping coordinate the event, Cullison also has paid $25 to set up tables and sell her Longaberger baskets. She has been in that business for 22 years.
“My daughter came down and helped me so I can walk around because I like to go around and say something to everybody and just talk to them a little bit and let them know who we are,” she said.
A few booths set up this year were to benefit Relay For Life teams as they collect money for the annual event, set for May 1 at Seymour High School’s Bulleit Stadium.
Dee Hess of the Trinity Trekkers said that team has participated in Parking Lot Pickers each year, selling items and baked goods brought in by members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Seymour. Leftovers were taken to church Sunday and sold for a freewill donation.
Trinity Trekkers was formed seven years ago.
“We have several (cancer) survivors in our church, and we have some that are still battling, so we decided just to come together as a church and do it,” Hess said.
Relay For Life is a chance for survivors to be honored along with those who have succumbed to cancer. Hess said she has lost a couple of family members to cancer.
“It just makes you feel good inside knowing that you’re trying to help other people, and keeping memories alive is really what we want to do,” she said. “We’ll get together and sit and talk about how my sister passed away but yet she’s still with you, and it makes you want to help others to try to stop this cancer.”
Participating in Parking Lot Pickers helps the group get its name out and promote Relay For Life.
“Mostly, it’s building friendships,” Hess said. “It’s good to get out in the community and make some new friends.”
At another booth, the Working for Our Dreams 4-H Club participated for the first time, selling clothes, shoes, books, toys and other items.
“We saw it last year, and we thought it was really interesting, so we wanted to get an opportunity to do it this time,” said member Marcegui Vasquez, 13, an eighth-grader at Seymour Middle School. “We like to do community work a lot.”
The club was established four years ago for Hispanic youth. It started with five kids and now has around 20 members.
“My mom got interested in 4-H, but she noticed there wasn’t any Hispanic 4-H clubs, so she decided to make her own 4-H club for Hispanics,” Marcegui said.
Proceeds from their booth will help members attend the 4-H Roundup, a summer event at Purdue University.
“We raise money to help the people that don’t have enough money to go by themselves in our club, so we just do fundraisers to help them,” Marcegui said.
This week, Cullison said, she will send an email to each of the vendors to get feedback from the event. She said that helps her plan for next year.
Saturday’s event drew vendors from Jackson, Lawrence and Bartholomew counties. Cullison said a few of them expressed interest in coming back next year.
She’s just hoping the weather will be like it was Saturday.
“This is the warmest we have ever had,” she said with a smile. “Last year, it was cloudy and a little windy; and the past two years, it was about 30 when we got here and barely got to 50 by 1 o’clock when we closed. We started out 10 degrees up with not much wind and sunshine, so I’m loving today.”
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Other Seymour Main Street events planned for this year
Lawn, Garden and Patio Show
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 16
Where: Robertson Parking Lot on Walnut Street
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 20, 2015, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19 and Oct. 17
Where: Downtown Seymour
Vendor signups: Contact Soni Birch at Picket Fence Antiques and Collectibles, 210 W. Second St., Seymour, or call 812-498-8991
Downtown Trick or Treat
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 26
Where: Participating merchants in downtown Seymour
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For information about Seymour Main Street, visit seymourmainstreet.org.