LEIPER’S FORK COMMUNITY — It’s no ordinary yard sale

Marty Hunt’s star-studded sale sprawling across the yard of her picturesque Leiper’s Fork Home this weekend will feature treasures from “American Pickers” host Mike Wolfe, country singer Naomi Judd and Ruby Guidara — who’s not only on Wolfe’s show but also is prop gal extraordinaire for another hit TV show, “Nashville.”

But Hunt’s sales were cool — and legendary — long before the celebrities took part.

“I started having an annual yard sale back in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” Hunt said. “I had 16 of them in a row. The last one I had was 250 booths and an estimated 20,000 people over three days. It took the country out of the country. I quit doing them after that year.”

In those days, she ran Leiper’s Fork Antiques in the heart of the Fork. Folks say it was the heart of the place. Her shop foreshadowed the village as it is today — chock-full of art galleries, boutiques, eateries and live music — all in about a two-block stretch on Old Hillsboro Road.

“In the beginning, I had the sales to empty out my barn, where I stored antiques and things for the store. This year, I’m not selling a thing of my own,” said Hunt, who retired from the antique business a few years back.

She did resurrect the yard sale three years ago to participate in the 84-mile-long Tennessee Trail yard sale.

This year, it’s all back where it began: in her yard.

Fork is the place to be this weekend
Like the sale itself, she and her “stars” go way back.

“I met Marty and Bruce (her husband) when I was traveling through here,” Wolfe said. “I started picking for her antique store. We’ve been fast friends ever since.”

(“Picking” is not related to musical instruments. Rather, it’s the art of finding treasures in the likes of yard sales, flea markets and old barns. For Wolfe, picking made him a TV star.)

He bought a second home in Leiper’s Fork a few years ago and made the Fork his full-time family home two years ago. This marks the first year for his participation in Hunt’s sale.

“I am pleased to be part of this,” he said. “This is my home. I want to be involved in the community. This event brings people to Leiper’s Fork and to the businesses here. It brings a major focus to what I call the Main Street of Leiper’s Fork.”

This “Main Street” stretch of Old Hillsboro Road has not a single traffic light and only one stop sign.

Hunt says her yard sale traditionally results in local shops and restaurants having their biggest business days of the year.

“The yard sale is a huge draw,” said Wolfe, whose booth will have items from his Nashville retail store as well as treasures that have not made it there yet. He’ll also have T-shirts, hats and Hatch show prints (available for autographing). “We’ve got Haunted Woods going on across the road and all kinds of food and music in the village. This will be the place to be this weekend.”

Wolfe plans to be on site at the yard sale most of the weekend.

“I do what (Marty) tells me, and she told me to be here,” he said.

He says in addition to “minding” Marty, the yard sale offers him a great opportunity to reach out to people.

“We’re going into our sixth season of the show,” he said. “We’ve had great success, and I’m glad for the chance to meet viewers and like-minded folks who enjoy yard sales and flea markets.”

Naomi Judd to sell Christmas items
Right next to his booth will be Naomi Judd’s. All proceeds from her booth will go to Tucker’s House, a nonprofit organization that helps families with disabled children outfit or retrofit their homes to make them better suited to those children.

This is Judd’s first year to participate.

“Everything in my booth is from my house or one of my family’s,” she said. “A lot of it is Christmas décor. I’ve been so over-the-top on decorations that my house is beginning to look like a Cracker Barrel store.

“I buy a lot of things when I’m on the road touring. I’ve been coast to coast and border to border. I always enjoy buying things locally in so many spots, but then I get home and wonder what I’m going to do with it.”

She plans to be at the sale Sunday and will happily sign autographs. On Saturday, she’ll be in Louisville to be inducted into the Kentucky Walk of Legends.

“I can tell you what won’t be in my booth,” she said. “There will be absolutely nothing that any fan has ever given me. We’ve built two rooms on our barn to hold those things. They are precious to me — like baby clothes. I will never part with them.”

Judd has been a staunch supporter of Tucker’s House.

“Sunny Rosenbalm, who founded that organization, is the most giving, selfless person I’ve ever known. Her grandson was born with disabilities. She was just a grandmother with a passion to help him and others like him. She has done incredible work and I am honored to work with her.”

Step right up
Guidara’s (actual) circus tent full of treasures will be next to Judd’s booth.

And there will be plenty of food. In addition to three food trucks, the Kids On Stage booth will be grilling up burgers and hot dogs. One of those trucks, G2 Barbecue, will offer down-home country food such as chicken, pork chops, mac and cheese, turnip greens, corn bread and white beans.

“We’ll have everything from art and antiques to pure junk,” Hunt says. “And unlike that last big sale I had years ago, we won’t have a total stranger living in my chicken coop — or a tractor-trailer from Florida full of watermelons.”

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