"It was such a score. That guy has no idea," says Liz (left), 23, holding a pair of antlers against her forehead in an ebullient deer impression. Her sister Emily (right), 20, snatches up a matching pair, "THIS, was a steal!" Giddy from the triumph, the Raleigh sisters trot off to pore through the adjacent booth at the Raleigh Flea Market at the historic State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. About 45 minutes from downtown Chapel Hill, the flea market has been nationally dubbed as one of the best in the country (CNN, USA Today) for its volume of finds and one-of-a-kinds. Enticing thousands of visitors each weekend, it's open all year except during the State Fair (this past weekend was the last weekend before the fair hiatus, but reopens again November 8).
Each week you can catch some of the usual vendors: the "chairman" who sells a kaleidoscope of seats, the "Monopoly man" who offers refinished antiques donning a black top hat, and the "wrought iron man" who arrives at the grounds with a wooden open-air trailer of iron garden goods. Many of the nearly 600 vendors drive from neighboring states -- VA, SC, TN -- to unload antiques, crafts, musical instruments, food, clothing, plants, furniture, accessories, pet goods, jewelry, art and the list continues...
And yes, you'll spot the revolving oddities: street lights, space suits, retired church organs, antique wooden gurneys, and outdated street pay phones.
Do visit. Arrive with an empty car trunk. Pick up cash. Sport a pair of treads. And happy hunting.
(photographs taken at the Raleigh Flea Market at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh)