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Strange Things You May See at Yard Sales

Strange Things You May See at Yard Sales

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Earl is for sale for $6000.00.
Earl is for sale for $6000.00 USD.

Summertime is here in the United States and with that comes flea markets, yard and garage sales.  What’s the difference?  They are the same except for one thing – the venue.  A yard sale usually held in a person’s yard.  A flea market can be held in a large outdoor area or building and can have hundreds of vendors selling their items.  A garage sale is held in a garage at a person’s home.  The family car is removed to accommodate the piles of stuff on sale. If you are lucky enough to have a garage you don’t have to pack things up at the end of the sale day.  Yard sale vendors may put up tents for their sale so that they can move things into the tent in the evening or give them protection from the rain or hot sun.  A sale is a great way to get rid of the stuff you no longer use and make a little money.  There are rules for the sellers and buyers.  In most cases bring cash – no checks or credit cards.  In the case of large flea markets some vendors may take credit cards but it’s rare.  One of my rules is that anything put out for sale needs to be clean and in good working order.  If something doesn’t work but could be fixable by someone else, put it in the “free” box.  Don’t put out torn or stained clothing.  The exception to that rule is jeans as some people seem to like torn and stained jeans.  But at least wash them before you put them on your sale.

There are wonderful flea markets that go on for miles. The One Hundred Mile Garage Sale that starts in Red Wing, Minnesota, goes 50 miles down the Mississippi River to Winona, Minnesota and then crosses the river to Wisconsin and after going 50 miles north the path crosses back to Red Wing.  My family favorite each year.  The Washington County Flea Market is held at the county fairgrounds the last weekend of the month from May-October in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.   The Three Hundred Mile Yard Sale goes through the states of Kentucky and Tennessee.  The Pasadena Flea Market is in California.  In Mesa, Arizona and warmer climates such as the south, southwest and California flea markets are every weekend and sometimes during the week. There are so many all over America that it would take days to write the list.  Big ones, little ones, community, 1 or 2-day, 3-day, 4-day,  weekly, monthly, only on major holiday weekends.  They are fun and a great place to find that collectible you can’t live without. 

What better thing to find when you love to travel
What better thing to find when you love to travel

Finding a treasure is the fun part of visiting these sales. A stuffed bear may be just the ticket for someone who loves to hunt but missed the 1 bear they saw when they were hunting in Alaska.  An antique globe for someone who loves to travel.  Comic books for the collector.  A carousel horse for a child or just for decoration.

Refurbished Carousel Horse
Refurbished Carousel Horse

The chances of seeing a full-sized Kodiak bear at any sale are pretty slim.  As you can see by the photo at the top of this story it does happen.  Old Fred was quite the sight at the Minnesota Antique Spectacular held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds this spring.  He was quite a handsome guy but would need a room of his own.

Today we went to a barn sale. Turns out it wasn’t the usual barn.  It was actually an antique store. Lots of interesting things inside and out.


Sometimes you find things at flea markets that are just plain old fun.  Ultra Bubbles was just that. It makes the largest bubbles you can find anywhere and is just the ticket to make a lazy summer day bubblelicious.  All you need is the special wand, bubble solution, a bucket and your imagination.

Ultra Bubbles makes huge bubbles for bubblelicous fun.

Everyone needs a cow crossing sign or big cog wheel found at a flea market.

Doesn't everyone need a cow crossing sign?

How about some Campbell Kids dishes found at  a garage sale on the 100 Mile Garage Sale.     

Campbell Kids memorabilia

A stone lion will definitely dress up your driveway or yard.  There were 2 of them.

Stone lion guarding the garage sale

If you don’t want to have visitors, a garden croc is just the thing to scare them away.

Garden Crocodile

And probably the most unusual thing I’ve seen at a garage sale is a runaway chicken in the middle of the city.  According to several homeowners on the block the chicken did not belong to them but it took turns visiting their homes.  To their credit each homeowner put out food for the chicken.  I wouldn’t leave the neighborhood either if people gave me food.

Runaway chicken shows up at garage sale


Some yard sales and garage sales really step it up a notch when they add food items.  People will have hot dogs, chips, barbeque sandwiches, lemonade, pop, water, cookies, cake, and yes, even soft serve ice cream from a 1950’s ice cream machine.   Flea markets frequently have kettle corn and mini donuts, fresh baked goodies or fresh grown vegetables.  There is clothing, jewelry, shoes, accessories, furniture, dishes, glassware.  You name and you will probably find it at a sale sooner or later.  If you have never been to any kind of sale, I seriously encourage you to go.  You may find a treasure you didn’t even know you were looking for.  Such as an armadillo that you couldn’t resist.

Amaradillo $2.00 USD
Amaradillo $2.00 USD
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