BEST FLEA MARKET - 2003
The Elko Trader's Market
There's nothing that gets our acquisitive, pack-rat juices jangling like garage sale and flea market season in Minnesota, and we have a house full of mostly useless testimony to the bountiful nature of these local treasure troves of castoff culture. That hasn't stopped us, unfortunately, from desperately wanting more. The desire to spend money on things that other people have willingly thrown away is one of the great mysteries of human nature, and the flea market is the lazy, modern leisure class's version of an archaeological dig. The Elko Trader's Market, which brings more than 300 dealers together three weekends a summer (May 25-27, July 4-6, and August 31-September 2), is the high point of the local scavenger's season, a junk scrounger's version of the annual horse meet at Saratoga Springs. The beauty of flea markets in general, and the Elko bazaar in particular, is the astonishing cross-section of aesthetics and desperation on full display. You'll find people peddling genuine art and antiques doing business alongside desperadoes who appear to be selling their own personal possessions at fire-sale prices. Whether you're looking for a bullfrog skeleton, oak book cabinets, or an elusive Waylon Jennings eight-track, you've always got a decent shot at Elko, and chances are always better than good that you'll go home with some artifact whose purchase will still be puzzling you a year from now.