PINE ISLAND — If you're looking for a gently used foosball table, you're too late.
Charles Nelson, 13, of Pine Island beat you to it.
"I payed $5," Charles said, touting the sweet deal.
Nearby, his mother, Carol Nelson, simply laughed.
"I usually avoid garage sales," Carol said as her boys admired Charles' purchase. "The kids wanted to go to the garage sales."
Between sunny spring weather and her children's enthusiasm – one of Charles' brothers kept extolling the virtues of a Nerf gun to his reluctant mother – the garage sales seemed like a good excuse for getting out of the house.
Pine Island's Citywide Garage Sales and the concurrent Craft & Vendor Market kicked off the outdoor shopping season for 2021 after many events were canceled or postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarah Aug said her location right off the roundabout at Goodhue County Road 11 and the East Frontage Road makes an inviting stop for shoppers.
"Every year, we do over four families here," Aug said, adding that she's glad the city is hosting the garage sale on its usual weekend at the end of April. "They had the garage sale in the fall (in 2020), but it wasn't the greatest turnout."
Pine Island Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kelly Leibold said for the Craft & Vendor Market, area small business sellers enthusiastically lined up once the chamber made the decision in March to hold the event.
The Craft & Vendor Market runs through 4 p.m. today and is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Linda Heydt, of Cannon Falls, who sells honey and bee-related products through her Touched by Nature company, said she was glad to see the Craft & Vendor Market open again. While she continued selling her products at farmers markets, in Pine Island and other towns, the cancellation of winter markets and holiday-season markets took a bite out of her business.
"I am happy they are hosting events again," Heydt said.
With more than 40 sites hosting garage sales Friday and Saturday, there are still plenty of gently used items up for grabs. A map can be found on the chamber's website at www.pineislandmnchamber.com.
But don't expect the Nelson boys to spend the whole weekend shopping. As to who will rule as foosball king of the family room, Charles' brothers reluctantly pointed, saying "It'll be him."