Growing up in Logan Square, I fondly remember hitting yard sale paydirt for a kid when my brother and I scored a huge box of Lego building blocks at the Bernard Street yard sale. This Saturday, June 11, the massive, annual sale returns after a cancellation in 2020 and postponment in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the 2400 to 2500 blocks of North Bernard Street. Shoppers can expect to find anything from an antique dresser to a pair of vintage jeans – or a prized new toy.
Residents along Bernard Street have coordinated the sale for more than a decade, and this year, at least one other block has taken inspiration. The 2500 Block of Drake Avenue, just two blocks west, will host its own neighborhood sale the same day.
I will never forget my best Bernard Sale purchase, when my younger brother and I hauled a $20 box of Legos home (I grew up a block away). We spent the next five years building castles and cities. Once we outgrew the blocks, we brought the box right back to the Bernard sale to be passed along to the next generation of eager, creative Logan Square 7-year-olds.
Rediscovering And Repurposing
For me the event has become more than just spring cleaning. It represents the value of repurposing in a throwaway culture and bringing neighbors together. It also offers visitors the chance to discover something new, which I consider the beauty of this annual event.
Picking something up from a neighborhood yard sale also feels a lot better than buying from Amazon or Target.
The Bernard Street Yard Sale Brings People Together
On top of the sustainable aspect, the Bernard Sale brings people together.
As neighbors set up in the morning, those who haven’t seen each other over the winter months get a chance to spark a conversation. And as passerbys dwindle toward the end of the event, sellers don’t just pack up their stuff and go back inside. Neighbors may start a barbecue or share a drink on their porches.
Visitors will also quickly notice that they should come with a sweet tooth ready. A handful of Bernard Street kids sell cookies and lemonade, giving these youngsters their first experience bargaining and selling and a chance to bond with their neighborhood friends.
Photo: Arian Bichsel
Bernard Street: A Historic ‘Hood
Bernard Street has more to offer visitors than yard sale wares, too. The lovely wood-frame homes hearken back to an older era of the neighborhood and the city. Decribed as “frozen in time” in a 2017 DNAinfor article, the homes boast “large front porches and ornate, colorful detailing.”
These houses, built between between 1900 and 1910, look largely as they did back then. That’s partly because, after getting annexed by the city of Chicago in the late 1800s, that area lay outside the city’s fire limits, established after the Great Chicago Fire, DNAinfo reported. This meant you could still build wooden homes along Bernard.
Bernard Street also goes all out for Halloween, attracting up to 2,500 trick-or-treaters in a couple hours, Block Club wrote in 2019.
Be sure to mark your calendars for this upcoming Saturday to experience Bernard Street and its signature yard sale for yourself!
Featured photo: Jamilah Maronde