The preliminary estimates for the crowds attending the 42nd Annual VFW Flea Market and Gun Show in Hillsville, VA., (pop. 2,500) Labor Day 2009 ranged from 300,000 to 500,000. We were there. And we may have been the only ones who went to the flea market without taking our dog either on a leash or in a baby carriage. It sure seemed that way.
The Hillsville flea market is billed as the largest flea market east of the Mississippi, and this year had approximately 2,000 vendors. 2,000 vendors? That’s right. If you can imagine it, they were selling it. Crafts, army surplus, antiques, slot machines, assault rifles, jewelry, garden flags…..you get the idea. In need of a change purse made out of a tanned bullfrog? You came to the right place. They were even selling pain-relieving jewelry and over-the-counter medicine—including one booth running a special on “out-of-date medicine” for only fifty cents! Who knew?
Not only does the flea market offer something for everyone to buy, there’s also entertainment and things to do. There was a bounce room for children, a climbing wall, and do-it-yourself sand art. There were infomercial product demonstrations that always drew a crowd. And you didn’t have to walk too far between gospel singers with microphones. I guess you’d have to include people watching in the stuff-to-do category. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any place else where you can see the sights we saw at the flea market. It’s worth the trip.
Oh, and the food. Food vendors are everywhere. The entire flea market is bathed in mouth-watering smells. Everything smells delicious, looks delicious, and actually tastes delicious. The food ranges from your standard hot dogs to the ever-popular chicken-on-a-stick, Thai food, and even taco in a bag. (Sorry, I didn’t try the taco in a bag this trip, so I cannot offer an explanation.)
Mark your calendar for Labor Day 2010. Delicious food, unique items, beautiful setting, perfect weather, good family time, Hillsville, VA, is the place to be. The only drawback is you might come home with something you don’t quite know what to do with…..like maybe your son buys a coyote pelt to go with the coyote skull he bought last year.
That’s Life in Raleigh.