The All-Night Flea Market

What’s more fun than a flea market?

One that requires a flashlight and features D-list celebrities, of course.

Voted one of the top ten flea markets in the country by National Geographic, the All-Night Flea Market in Wheaton, Illinois, doesn’t begin until 4pm. But things don’t start picking up until after dark.

Shoppers wander through the DuPage County Fairgrounds, in and out of barns and exhibition halls that just weeks before held prize-winning pigs and cattle. Now they are filled with junk and/or treasures, depending on how you look at it, from these bizarre beyond-generic cleaning supplies…

Any bets on what’s actually in these bottles?

to 1950s exercise fads…

to the toys of our childhood.

Buckets of angry men.

$50 for a complete set of Jarts? Mighta been worth it.

But there’s much more than treasure hunting! Almost equal to the number of flea market vendors is the number of D-list celebrities sitting behind tables eager to feel the love of strangers. Eighties wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan, a munchkin from the terribly reviewed Oz the Great and Powerful and likely never saw even James Franco on set, the grandpa from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an extra from “The Walking Dead”… you get the idea.

And, Chewbacca!

Part of the fun is distinguishing between the people dressed as characters and the people who just are characters. Was that guy trying to look like Neo from The Matrix? Nope, that’s just a guy who, each and every day, dresses like Neo. Is that Cindy Lauper!? No… that’s just an old lady with a pink sweatband and lipstick and leggings to match.

If this sounds like a fun way to spend an evening and you’re sad you missed it, no worries! They do it all over again near Halloween. Dollar off if you come in costume, which makes the people-watching worth so much more than the $7 price of admission.

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3 thoughts on “The All-Night Flea Market

  1. This flea market was a blast! There is just something wonderful about rummaging through a pile of goodies in the dark with a few thousand other treasure hunters. Great article!

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