421 Flea Market

The girls and I were returning from our drive in the country, flying down NC Hwy 421, loaded down with apples and keeping our eyes peeled for barbecue joints (down by the lake? T Bone Burnett, anyone?) A sign caught my eye: “Books 75% Off.” It was hoisted prominently over the 421 Flea Market.
This flea market (or “swap meet” in southern California vernacular) was deceptively ginormous. There were tables and pickup trucks laid out over a large field, selling used treasures from clothes to martial arts weapons and country home décor to GUNS! What appeared to be storage or industrial buildings at the rear of the property housed the actual flea market! There were hundreds of stalls displaying the tackiest junk I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know such junk existed.
Emma was understandably mortified and we could barely walk the rows, alternating between uproarious laughter and stunned disbelief. It was beyond any caricature of the south I have ever seen or heard. I think we were literally in shock for the first ten minutes before I regained my composure and began snapping these photos.
My favorite vendors were Appalachia’s answer to Restoration Hardware, Garris Gifts (did someone drop the H?) and the hillbilly chiropractor… very professional, indeed. The Hispanic community represented here was the largest I’ve seen since my youth in East Los Angeles… who would have known that I would have to go across the country to the hollows of North Carolina to find myself at home.
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves and will be happy to field any questions or comments concerning the objects d’arts on display.


  1. Sadie Lou said:

    That last pic of the fat hunter and the array of model animals is ghastly. I hope you bought it for me.

    October 12, 2005
  2. Bo Salisbury said:

    Sadie… I hade to take these photos in low light conditions with no flash and secret agent style. I didn’t want to get beat up. So, if you look closely, you will see that the deer are carrying rifles over their shoulders with bound hunters hanging from them… get it? The deer bagged the hunters. This is a variation on a theme that has been around for years on postcards… deer smoking cigars, while driving convertibles with dead hunters tied to the fenders.

    October 12, 2005
  3. Sadie Lou said:

    The question still remains:
    Did you buy them for me?

    October 13, 2005
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