All-island yard sale a success with bittersweet ending

Ann Hall

The Annual Capri Community Inc. All-Island Yard Sale is always the largest event of the year on the Isles of Capri, and it is always held on the last Saturday in the month of January. This year, folks who had registered to host a sale on their properties were a bit nervous about the weather and the aftermath of the torrential rains that had left some of the streets flooded just two days before. Registered sellers also feared that cooler temperatures and wet conditions would keep the buyers away.

Capri Christian Church grill masters keep annual All-Island Yard Sale shoppers coming back for more of their famous hot dogs.

This fear was soon squelched early on Saturday morning. In fact, buyers who may have developed cabin fever during the inclement weather for so many days leading up to the event, seemed anxious to get out and about. They began showing up earlier than ever, and some came hungry not just for bargains but for the famous hot dogs that have become the talk of the event for years.

“We had one (hot dog) last year and just had to come out early before they ran out,” said Rob Mann.

Rob and his wife Sheri of Yorktown, Va., were the first to purchase their dogs at 8:03 a.m., beating last year’s record held by Gail Ueland who bought her “breakfast dog,” as she put it, at 8:30 a.m. The previous record was held by Mary Jo Johnson who was always first in line by 8:14 a.m. for three consecutive years until her family sold their vacation home and returned to Illinois for health reasons.

Grill masters Ron Wooten, Gary Goetzelman, Larry Megel, Dale Williamson, Eddie Hall and Jack Addy know the secret to making the hotdogs such a popular feature of the annual event. Mary Williamson spent the better part of the day before the event chopping fresh peppers and onions, to which garlic was added.

Her bruised fingers are testimony to the arduous task. The mixture was cooked in a frying pan on an open fire while the dogs are grilled and the sauerkraut is warmed before being offered to guests. Some guests have asked the grill masters for their secret recipe. When the hotdogs gave out prior to NOON, as they always do, one previous customer who returned for more because he said he enjoyed the condiments so much, was disappointed that there were none. The grill masters gave him a baggie of the still warm condiments to take home.

“Wow, thank you he said to which he added, “These will be good on hamburgers or in omelets too.”

Proceeds from the sale held at the church go to support the youth scholarship fund for deserving students in the church community.

There were 75 registered stations for people to shop for treasures all within a little over a mile long area.

“I found so many good things at this year’s sale, I had to go home and unload my golf cart three times,” said Linda Addy. Golf carts, bicycles, motor cycles, ATVs, trucks, cars, trailers and even several busses were seen maneuvering through the narrow streets in hopes of finding bargains to haul away.

After all of the registered sellers tally up their profits, they will donate 10 percent up to a maximum of $100, to Capri Community Inc. to help offset expenses for the event and to help with Community Center building and island landscape needs.

This year’s event has a bittersweet ending. Bobby Decker, resident and event chair for the past nine years, is moving from the isles and will no longer be able to coordinate the sale. The Capri Community Inc. board is already seeking her replacement in hopes of providing the new coordinator with training before the baton is passed.

Contact Ann Hall at