|Home of The Peanut Man|
So, while I may not have gone to flea markets, my upbringing was such that the idea of them inspired curiosity and the intuition that what awaited was a feast for the eyes and my sense of adventure.
I've yet to be disappointed.
Our local flea market has been around since 1981. It was originally located in an around a long wooden warehouse type structure on the grounds of the Exchange Park Fairground. In 1998, a fire destroyed the entire building. It was a devestating loss for the several vendors who had regular shops in the building. In true Lowcountry style, it didn't slow things down for long.
The small town community rallied. The structure was rebuilt even larger with room for hundreds more indoor vendors. Over the years, the outdoor part of the market has extended far afield from the original area with its cement tables for the temporary or one time vendor. The once empty fields of the exchange park where we'd fly kites, shoot off model rockets or watch the local SCA larp* and practice their weapon skills are now crowded with weekend vendors. I'm sure it's not the largest in the southeast but it's the largest in South Carolina and well worth the visit. (As The Fabulous can attest) The Coastal Carolina Flea Market continues to grow and thrive with over 1000 vendors over nearly 50 acres of land.
It's also 5 minutes straight down the road from our house.
I've written about The Peanut Man (who now has his framed photo with our grand daughter, Elena) and our weekly flea market tradition. Over the last few months, I've come to know several of the regular vendors, Vined a couple of the local musicians who occasionally play and become a part of this micro-culture within the community.
|The largest Mexican grocery in the area and where we get|
our produce each weekend. After seeing The Peanut Man, of course.
|In addition to the traditional drinks, they import Coke and Sprite|
from Mexican bottling companies. They simply taste better.
Usually the grocer is our last stop. After buying peanuts, we could turn right and straight to the produce... but why would we do that when we can do the whole circuit and see everything?
|In the summer, this spot under an old oak is prime real estate.|
|These Red-eared Sliders are 2 for $10 and |
why we always have at least one turtle at home.
|SCHMOO! Just above him on the right is Snoopy.|
|Hillbilly Jim has antiques, vintage glassware & random STUFF.|
I'm trading vintage bottles for his collection of blue glass.
|This vendor is always in this spot. One day I'll have the money|
to talk him out of the Hippies sign.
|When I grow bored wearing this flea market|
find, I'll repurpose the beads.
|Poultry and rabbits are the extent of available livestock.|
I want a rooster but the family would rise as one
and dismember me while I slept.
|Cast iron everything and old pressure cookers. It's all set up|
on an old pontoon boat. Here's where I'll complete my cast iron
cookware collection. He sells things pre-seasoned. Nice.
|I'm fairly certain Chinese trinkets are a flea market requirement.|
|As are pink handcuffs...|
|And airbrush artists.|
You can also find licensed sports and racing memorabilia and the owner of Castle Keep has a better selection of nearly new to vintage video games at better prices than you can find anywhere.
|And, of course, Booooots.|
|Need retreaded tires?|
|Real Mexican Piñatas...|
|Or, perhaps, a sword? These are replicas. The real knife guy was camera shy.|
|I stop and listen to this local musician|
each time I see him.
|Handcrafted guitars and banjos|
|This is a Sweetgrass display from the Charleston Market.|
These incredible works of functional art can run in the thousands of dollars.
|Native American souvenirs made by|
a member of the local Edisto tribe.
Flea markets and swap meets have gotten a bad rap over the years. There tends to be an assumption it's the lowest common denominator of the retail/re-sale world... a place of illegal or unsavory people and behavior... but I've found it's mostly made up of hard-working people just trying to make a living. Like any group of people, you'll find a few jerks but honor is a big deal with this giant family-like community. People watch their neighbor's wares, gossip around stall corners and make as much fun as is possible when temps are below freezing or over 95. They take care of each other, raise funds to help vendor families in need and get to know the regulars beyond passing familiarity.
When I'm in a place where I have an inventory of my own handcrafts to be worth setting up, I'll be out at the flea market before I open an etsy shop. It's simply more fun.
I could go on but really, it's the kind of thing you have to see for yourself.
If you ever find yourself in the Charleston area, shoot me an email. I'd be happy to give you the tour... and introduce you to The Peanut Man.