Thousands of items were on sale Saturday throughout East Chicago as Neighborhoods Inc. hosted its fifth International Garage Sale, Antique Show and Family Bazaar.
Neighborhoods Inc., Executive Director Keith D. Speaks said the event was a way for people to get out and meet their neighbors in the city and “know who’s on your block.”
“It’s part of our mission to get people to know each other better for security and social reasons,” he said. “People don’t get to know their neighbors as much as in the old days.”
Speaks said some clusters of participating homes treat the event with a carnival atmosphere and offer food and beverages.
“People love garage sales and going to sales where there’s a lot of them,” he said. “They’ll spend their whole day doing it.”
North side resident Henry Ruiz was participating in his first citywide garage sale. Within the first few hours he sold several vintage bikes, including a tandem cycle.
“I had a lot of stuff to get rid of,” he said. “It’s been pretty good.”
Ruiz’s neighbor, Crescencio Rios, was outside grilling tacos for guests perusing through the household items he was selling. He said business was OK.
“I don’t complain,” he said. “I take life the way God sends it to me.”
On the city’s south side, Cesar and Diane Perez said business was a little light. But he was glad for the opportunity to take part.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Cesar Perez said. “If they can get more city participation it’s an excellent thing.”
The event was funded by the Foundations of East Chicago. Neighborhoods Inc. officials said one year a participant sold her car for $7,000. Another struck up a conversation with a neighbor who was having financial difficulties and instead of selling her kids clothes to the single mother, donated them to her for free. In the past a church earned over $1,500, and the total revenue for all participants in 2011 exceeded $31,000.
The amount participants netted from this year's event won't be known for a while yet, but organizers hope the net gain in neighborhood unity will be even greater.