I had to throw a bone to the Basswife after a pretty good summer of hitting the streams. We left Northern Virginia bright and early on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend and blasted south on a 5 hour trek to the annual Hillsville Gun Show and Flea Market; rolling into Dodge at around 12:30.
I was stunned at the humanity that swelled into the streets, benches, shade trees, booths and buildings. People were everywhere; dead set on either making a buck or saving a buck. The website said that 500,000 people attend this over a typical weekend. After going down there, I'm a believer. Surprisingly, for a small town reacting to such an tidal wave of visitors, it was well organized and easy to get into and out of.
As long as you avoid the main street in your car, you can find a parking area quickly in one of the many yards of Hillsville residents who happily offered up parking for 5 bucks. Pop out of the car and start trekking - make a beeline for the main drag and work from that landmark. There must have been several hundred vendors selling everything under the planet - junk and/or treasure - all in Hillsville, VA.
You could get food.... turkey legs, corn, sausages, ice cream, fried oreos or twinkies .... all good and all dangerous to your health - but who cares when you are being swept along by a bouyant crowd of eager shoppers!
You could get guns - old ones, new ones, short ones, and long ones, pistols, rifles, shotguns, knives, ammo... mostly in the VFW building, but many of the vendors had all types of weapons laid out next to the glassware or baby clothes - even a sword or three.
You could get any type of antique, tool, clothes, military surplus (anyone need a gas mask? How about a .50 cal ammo can? Rubber band shooter?).
You could get fishing gear - mostly stuff gleaned from estate sales - sad boxes of assorted lures and worn out spinning rods and reels that had seen better days. Remind me to clean up all my stuff before I go out of the game.
The view up main street... it just goes on forever!
You could get a massage, a diet patch, a healing pyramid, a wig or clothes that just cover up the problem.
You could get old bottles, old food, old boxes, old toys slathered liberally with lead paint.
You could watch America go by if you were lucky enough to find an empty patch of stairs, chair or bench. Everyone in America was here - the fat ones, skinny ones, rock solid guys, pretty girls, mothers, daughters, fathers, brothers, babies in carriages, carts and wagons bumping happily along in the hot sun.
You could go crazy trying to figure out what the other half of that tattoo was on the pretty thing that just bounced by in the tight everything.
To see it all, you will walk and walk and walk, but you will never be bored. Normally, I will not hike anywhere unless there is a lake or stream at the finish line. Big time exception here - it was just too entertaining.
A once in a lifetime experience. Everyone should go.