The Hillsville Flea Market has opened for the year, marking its 50th anniversary.
The tents are up, and shoppers were sporting their jackets and ponchos Friday. People we spoke with said they were not letting the gray skies stand in their way of the Hillsville Flea Market’s opening day.
“At least is wasn’t hot,” said Sue Gaskins, who was visiting with a friend from South Georgia.
For the past five years, the flea market is where they have come every Labor Day weekend.
“It’s open, and all the booths are together,” Gaskins said.
According to organizers, the flea market attracts more than 2,000 vendors, selling all kinds of items – from crafts to collectibles and everything in between.
Jessie Peters turns old vinyl records into clocks.
“It’s just a great crowd,” Peters said. “It’s a lot of fun. We get a great response every year from everybody that’s here. This is probably about a quarter of our income every year. So this is our big show.”
“Met someone from Arkansas a while ago,” said Gary Adams of Grover King VFW Post 1115 in Hillsville.
The flea market started out as a fundraiser for the VFW post, Adams said.
Now, about half a million people attend each year, according to organizers.
“We don’t have to provide a lot of services, but they’re eating in the restaurants, buying fuel,” Adams said. “So we’re the heart of the town.”
Organizers and vendors we spoke with said they’re feeling optimistic about the rest of the weekend.
“Just enjoy seeing my regular customers,” said Jeff Scharf, a vendor from Pennsylvania. “The people come back to this specific booth, and right away, we’re on first-name basis, and they know the kinds of things I carry. They come looking for those specific things to buy.”
“We’re looking forward to some big crowds and a lot of fun,” Peters said.
The flea market continues through Monday. According to organizers, most vendors are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday.