ODDITIES, ANTIQUES and repurpose-ables — that thrill of the hunt draws upward of 50,000 shoppers from near and far to the Raleigh Flea Market each weekend to browse its acres of treasures.
“It’s an addiction; I call it Flea fever,” joked market manager Marshall Stewart III. “Somebody even sold a casket out here once. Don’t worry, it wasn’t occupied! Antiques and collectibles are the backbone of the market, but you name it, you can sell it here.
Left: Vintage signage decorates a wall at the Raleigh Flea Market. Right: A metal parrot keeps watch over Joe Stallings’ yard art at the State Fairgrounds flea market. The Wilmington resident says he has been selling his wares here for 25 years.
” Stewart’s family founded the Flea market in 1971 with a handful of hawkers.These days, 600 to 800 merchants from across the U.S. are on hand weekly at the nationally lauded market, with more than 1,000 vendors on the rotation.
From furniture to comics, stained glass, coins, pottery, baseball cards and even fudge, vendors offer their wares at booths both outdoors and inside six buildings on the fairgrounds.
The market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 6, except during the annual State Fair in October. And a newish Tuesday market features about 30 outdoor vendors.
“Raleigh is growing by leaps and bounds; we have a highly educated, affluent, discerning clientele,” Stewart said. “(The e market offers) entertainment value, variety and the vendors, but most important is you get value for your money.”
Left: Shoppers hunt for bargains, like antique furniture. Right: John Ceraulo, left, buys and sells collectibles, like these paintings, at his flea market booth.
The best time to shop for selection is early Saturday morning, but close-of-sale bargains can usually be had on Sunday afternoons. Flea market parking and admission are free.
“Come on out and have a great time. It’s a family atmosphere, with good food and friendly vendors,” Stewart said. “It’s fun shopping. It really is a treasure hunt.”
Spoon wind chimes are one of the unique items that draws thousands to the flea market each week.
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