[Photo: Town of Hillsville]
What could possibly attract more than 500,000 people from around the world to a tiny town in Southwest Virginia?
A one-of-a-kind bargain and collectors paradise — The Hillsville Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show.
“Everyone finds a treasure. No matter what it is you’re looking for, I guarantee there is an item you want somewhere in this town. It’s just finding it!”
Travis Jackson has been attending the annual Labor Day flea market for more than 15 years, but when he shows up to the temporary tent city tomorrow morning he won’t be searching for treasure — the new Hillsville Town Manager we’ll be making sure one of the most famous flea markets in America goes off without a hitch.
“I’m not new to this. I’m just new to this side of it. Fortunately, the flea market has been going on for so long it pretty much takes care of itself these days.”
Jackson has only been on the job six months, but the flea market (which is held over both Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends) has attracted millions of bargain hunters from near and far since 1967.
“I’ve heard of folks who have come here from Ireland, London, Germany… there’s people literally who come from all over the world.”
If you haven’t figured it out — this is no ordinary flea market!
“It has the title of flea market, but what you’ll find is there is something for everyone. People are selling guns, antiques – and if you’re looking for food — there are probably well over 100 food vendors and local restaurants along Route 58.”
Vendors tents and trucks routinely take over a mile-long, half-mile wide stretch of Route 58 through downtown Hillsville each year.
And did we mention — this is just one of two flea markets?
Four miles from downtown, bargain shoppers will find the annual Red Hill General Store Flea Market and 18 mile Yard Sale on Route 100.
That’s right — 18 miles of yard sales!
“If folks have never seen this — it is something to see. It needs to be on your bucket list. It may be the 8th Wonder of the World!”
Jackson says the flea market has become such a spectacle, visitors actually rent spaces reserved for vendors and set up camp for the weekend just to people watch!
While Jackson is proud of the family-family friendly event his community has created over the past several decades — and the financial boom it brings each year — his favorite part of the flea market is the attention it brings the Blue Ridge Mountain town he is proud to serve.
“It introduces our community to 500,000 people who may not otherwise know that Hillsville, Virginia exists. It lets people know we’re here and hopefully it makes them want to come back.”
The 2013 Hilsville Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show and Red Hill General Store Flea Market and 18 mile Yard Sale both begin Friday, August 30th and run through Monday, September 2nd.
“This may the year to put a check mark on that bucket list and come see us in Hillsville!”