It’s an event that Crystal Recreation Department officials were planning to sponsor last spring.

But the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, causing the scheduled city-wide garage sale to be canceled.

However, that didn’t stop the planning and scheduling of a new city sale on Thursday to Saturday, Sept. 17-19.

Recreation Services Manager Scott Berggren said the effort began late last year and extended into 2020.

Residents signed up, but a few days later, the state and much of the country shut down because of the pandemic.

As society and the economy have since been slowly reopened, Berggren said he and his staff members decided to move ahead with the newer version of the sale.

“When COVID-19 hit, the plan was scrapped, and it wasn’t until this summer that the idea resurfaced and the efforts to make it happen continued,” he said.

The original plan came about, according to Berggren, when a City Council member suggested that Crystal initiate a city-wide sale based on the successes of similar sales in surrounding communities.

As of Aug. 28, there were 34 residences that had signed up; 22 homes have enrolled for the full three days, seven have signed up for two days and five will host a single-day sale.

The registration deadline was Sept. 1, because the city will need a couple of weeks to prepare paper and online maps and to make sure the sale occurs as planned.

“I think it may take us a little bit of time to plot everything out and get that all organized,” Berggren said. “We’ve seen other cities provide a two-week lead time to get things put together.”

Berggren said the city will prepare color-coded paper maps, as well as an online version of the map, with the addresses of the participating homes and some of the items that will be for sale at each residence.

The paper version of the map will be made available at the community center and at City Hall. If requested, the paper map will also be sent out.

As for what should be sold, Berggren said it’s “pretty much wide open.” Though food items are being discouraged, he added, “I think any household items people are looking to get rid of - baby clothes, Tupperware, old furniture, artwork, those types of things.”

He encourages people to be creative with their sales.

“We ask that people who want to get creative in making artwork or jewelry, those who maybe want to sell bracelets – I think all that is open to people’s creativity.”

The best part, Berggren said, is that it’s free to those who would like to participate.

“Personally, I’ve taken part in the Robbinsdale sale in the past,” Berggren said. “It’s a great community activity and I’m sure people were bummed [that the first sale was canceled], but with people being home the past few months I think they are ready for something like this.”

He also said they haven’t forgotten about the virus and are taking steps to make sure the sale happens safely.

“We’ll be sending out some COVID-safe suggestions for those selling,” he said. That will include suggestions for having hand sanitizer available, that people wear masks, and that they put up signs to help control the flow of shoppers and to be sure they maintain a 6-foot distance from one another.

In planning the event, Berggren said their hope is that this is one way to provide some sort of normalcy for city residents in these uncertain times.

“We’re excited about how much interest there is in this sale. If everything goes well and people enjoy the experience, this is something we could consider to do again in the future,” he said. “Now, all we have to do is hope for good weather.”

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