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Past meets present at Pike Days

Photo of Emily Petsko
By Emily Petsko
Staff writer
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Mike Rose of Houston tried to sell the matador and bull figurines that used to sit on his grandmother’s mantel. Pike Days is known for the many yard and garage sales along Route 40, where many unusual items can be found. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Russ Sprowls takes care of the grilling at the Duttons’ Smoke-N-Good BBQ stand in Claysville during Pike Days Saturday. Claysville celebrated Pike Days with wagon rides, food stands and live music. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
From left, Shana Henderson, Austin Henderson, 2, and Michael Henderson check out the surroundings before going on a wagon ride at Pike Days in Claysville. The wagon rides were provided by Shir-Lee Percherons from West Alexander. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Barbara Horne and her husband, Bert, have been making quirky crafts like beer can wind chimes and “redneck birth baths” made from toilet plungers for years. They had a booth set up in Scenery Hill during the Pike Festival this weekend. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Barbara and Bert Horne have been selling quirky crafts like “redneck birth baths” made from toilet plungers for years. They set up a booth in Scenery Hill during Pike Days this year. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Painted deer skulls and lamps made from antlers, created and sold by Donora business Fine Design Hydro Graphics, were a few of the items on sale during Pike Days this weekend. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Painted deer skulls and lamps made from antlers, created and sold by Donora business Fine Design Hydro Graphics, were a few of the items on sale during Pike Days this weekend. Order a Print
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Our forefathers who traveled the National Road in the early 19th century likely didn’t anticipate the day when locals would annually display old coffee pots and workout tapes on their front lawns.


But then again, our American predecessors also didn’t have deep-fried Oreos. In an unusual blend of past meets present, the annual Pike Festival along Route 40 has become a beloved occasion for horse cart riding, socializing and enjoying live entertainment and a seemingly endless supply of food.


Regular attendees also have mastered the art of rubbernecking while driving in order to preview the lawn sales before making a parking space commitment.


Pike Days festivities have been held for years along the 90-mile corridor of America’s first federally funded highway. The National Road stretches from Maryland into Pennsylvania and takes in such communities as Addison, Uniontown and Brownsville before reaching Washington County.


Saturday’s activities were dampened by spurts of rain, but the crowds re-emerged at first glimpse of sunshine. Claysville residents hopped onto a horse cart and checked out the sales while riding around town.


And, while most people attend Pike Days for the yard sales, they stay for the food. Carnival-style vendors along Route 40 served up racks of ribs, boxes of kettle corn and true-to-size “bricks” of French fries. If it could be barbecued or deep fried, it was on the menu.


This year was the first Pike Festival for Mike Rose, 58, of Houston. He was selling an assortment of items, including a decorative matador and bull set that had been in his family for three generations. Like many yard sale hosts, his reluctant decision to sell was based on a lack of space at home.


Rose’s grandmother kept the figurines on her fireplace mantel, but he isn’t sure why she bought them in the first place.


“They weren’t Spanish,” Rose said. “They didn’t like bull-fighting. They were German.”


Several yard sales lined the roads in Claysville, but as one Claysville woman admitted, Scenery Hill is “the Cadillac” of Pike Festival locales.


Scenery Hill had an array of its own yard sales, but also hosted some unusual crafters. Barbara Horne sold quite a few wind chimes made from Coors and Miller Lite beer cans.


“Those really went today,” said Horne, pointing to her “redneck bird baths” made from toilet plungers. Horne has been making these quirky crafts for about 30 years as a hobby.


Jeff Lenzi, whose family owns a taxidermy and graphic design company in Donora, had a table set up with decorated deer skulls and lamps fashioned from antlers.


Over the Pike Festival weekend, his chandeliers made from deer antlers proved to be popular.


“People talk about coming back for lamps,” Lenzi said. “We’ll see. We’ll just keep selling them, and if we need more, we’ll make more.”


Many businesses travel from out of town to temporarily set up shop along Route 40 during Pike Days. The festivities, including live music and performances, will continue today starting at 9:30 a.m. in Scenery Hill.


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