How it came to be...
The year is 1977 when the gasoline shortage strikes. In Austin, lines of cars wait at every gas station for a 10 gallon maximum. That's when the idea popped: With gas in such limited supply, how will people be able to continue the great weekend pastime: garage sales? What if all the garage sales were in one location…
And so the City-Wide Garage Sale was born. Individuals and non-profits were eager for a climate-controlled venue to have their garage and rummage sales, advertising included - rain or shine! Very quickly, antique and collectible dealers saw opportunity. Word spread and soon lines of shoppers waited to get into the building on City-Wide weekends when the sale opened on Saturday morning.
As the years passed, demand from customers for used, unusual, old and hard-to-find goods drove the evolution of City-Wide into a vintage and collectibles marketplace. Individuals with regular household goods at bargain prices still participate to maximize their profits. It became clear that to maintain the event’s unique identity as the place for the unusual, the bargain, and the downright weird, there would be no imports, crafts, novelties or assorted new items allowed at City-Wide.
With time, Austin changed. The old City Coliseum was torn down in 2002 and replaced by the Palmer Events Center. City-Wide Garage Sale kept its identity as the place to shop for all things vintage and collectible. Each sale attracts an eclectic mix of shoppers: collectors, college students, interior decorators, set designers, wardrobe consultants, families, and of course, the just plain curious. Their curiosity is rewarded with an amazing, ever-changing array of vintage and used treasures.
Newcomers often ask why it’s called City-Wide Garage Sale when it’s not a regular garage sale at all. Over four decades, the name “City-Wide” has become such an iconic Austin event that changing that brand — well, that’s just not going to happen. We do our very best to let newcomers know that this is a vintage and collectible market. For our long-time fans, they know exactly who we are and what we’re doing at THE City-Wide Garage Sale.
Keeping Austin Vintage Since 1977!