The annual Hillsville Flea Market is in full swing, bringing thousands of vendors and visitors to the town.
From scarves to signs to specialty soda, it seems like almost anything can be found at the Hillsville Flea Market.
“They have lots, lots and lots of interesting things,” said Andrew Reedy, who visited the flea market with his family.
Among those interesting things are string instruments.
“We’ve got ukuleles and banjos and fiddles,” said Stevie Barr, the owner of Barr’s Fiddle Shop in Galax.
Barr said it’s the fifth year his shop has run a booth at the flea market, which, he added, always provides a big boost in business.
“If it’s not raining, you can bring in $15,000 [to] $20,000 on a good week here,” Barr said. “It’s just really incredible.”
The vendors aren’t just from Southwest Virginia. One of them, Christine Dunnett, has driven almost seven hours from Maryland to sell crafts.
Dunnett said she travels regularly to sell her products at flea markets all over the country.
“It always brings in a big crowd – the flea market,” she said. “A lot of places rent out space.”
“It gives the community a chance to be exposed, little businesses that may not get exposed,” said Mike Lara, post manager for Grover King VFW Post 1115.
The Hillsville Flea Market and Gun Show began as a fundraiser for the VFW post nearly 50 years ago, Lara said. Today, it has grown into one of the biggest flea markets on the East Coast, he added, with more than 2,000 vendors.
The event is on track to meet or exceed last year’s attendance of more than half a million people, Lara said.
“People really look forward to this thing every year,” he said. “Here in the post, you have different committees in the post that look forward to this, and we build up because it actually helps fund us for the rest of the year.”
The event continues to raise funding for the VFW’s projects to help veterans as the group rents out space to vendors and gun dealers.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said Tony Harrison of Harrison’s Guns and Ammo in Galax. “And we support it year in, year out. We’re local here so we really try to support the guys here.”
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been on hand to make sure all gun sales are legal, Lara said.
The flea market wraps up on Monday. Vendors will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lara said.