Convocation Center holds annual ‘Colossal Clean Sweep’


Steve Briarton, 55, of Monroe Center plays guitar at his stall April 22, 2012 at the Colossal Clean Sweep in the Convocation Center.

By Hailey Kurth

Over 100 garage sales were packed under one roof at the convocation center Friday and Saturday for the Convocation’s annual Colossal Clean Sweep.

Over 3,000 people were expected to come to the sale over the weekend, said Heather Priest, director of marketing at the convocation center.

“This is the fourth year we’ve had it,” Priest said. “It started as a community event, kind of like an economy-stimulating ‘bring everybody together’ thing; both commercial and non-commercial.”

Walking around the convocation center, one could see anything from beer signs to candles. Tables started at $20. Shoppers were charged $2 at the door and the first few were given an eco-friendly yellow bag.

“We give them on behalf of the event, so people can walk around and stuff them with their treasures,” Priest said.

Priest said this garage sale is DeKalb County’s largest indoor garage sale. She said if it became too big for the Convocation Center to handle, they would consider having it outside, but they like that it’s able to be inside.

“Like on a day like today when it’s freezing outside, it’s always 72 degrees in here,” Priest said. “We like to say it’s always sunny in the convo.”

Streamwood vendor John Kola said he’s been selling at the convocation’s garage sale since day one and keeps coming back because he likes DeKalb. He comic books, trading cards and limited edition games he collected over 30 years. Kola said he travels all over the country for events like the Convocation Center’s garage sale.

“I’d like to quit, but people don’t let me,” Kola said. “They say, oh I got something for you. I own and operate a freak circus.”

The event also brought vendors from DeKalb who wanted to sell stuff they didn’t need.

Wes Bennett, freshman turf management major at Kishwaukee College, said he selling stuff his family acquired after his grandmother died. He said he was looking forward to Saturday of the sale because when his father and him were there last year, Saturday was the big day. Bennett said he’s had a garage sale at his house, but he prefers the sale at the Convocation Center.

“You get a lot of people in one place and a lot of things people want to sell; it works,” Bennett said.

Garage sale visitors Steve Miller and NIU alumnus Mark Lindsey said they didn’t come for anything specific, but were walking around to see what was there. Lindsey said the most interesting thing he saw at the sale was a vendor who painted things like Blackhawk memorabilia on wooden plaques. Miller said he was interested in a guitar he saw and decided to research the item to see if it was worth the asking price. Lindsey said bargaining is key at a garage sale.

“I was just saying I feel like right after I make a purchase, if I bargained a little bit more I would have gotten a better deal. But it’s too late now,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said this is his third year attending the garage sale and he thinks it’s a good idea.

“I love it. People would say, oh it’s just a garage sale,” Lindsey said. “But a lot of the vendors come out that make custom-made things so it’s cooler than just random crap you find at a garage sale.”