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flea market

Shady Hollow Flea Market, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota


Maybe it’s because I came up in the suburbs of the west coast and have never seen oddities like weatherworn drake decoys and antique muskie lures. Maybe it’s the way said items were displayed. Maybe I just hadn’t been shopping in awhile. But I was positively mad <eyes roll back> about Shady Hollow Flea Market


A bit like Les Puces de Saint-Ouen without the newer merchandise and pickpockets, Shady Hollow is not about transients unloading their castaway crap. Here, professional antique dealers traffic hand picked items from teeny, tasty little store-sheds and tables piled decoratively with fabulous junque. Shabby chic people, you’ll go out of your mind.


Though I was dressed normally (I think) and had ready cash in hand, the sellers were unexpectedly surly and answered my friendly questions with grunts and one word answers. When I snapped a photo of a lawn jockey, the shopkeeper came flying over. “What’d you take a picture of that for?” he demanded. I sincerely didn’t know, other than he looked quaint lying there on a red flannel blanket in his little box. “Uh, I’m a tourist?” I wavered, then seized the opportunity to ask the question I asked everyone. “Do you have any Airstream or trailer toys or collectibles?” (This may be why I was getting the stink eye. Is “Airstream” code for something dirty in the midwest?) “No, I’m far too practical and provincial than to have toys like that,” he answered, offended, turning away. WTF?


Don’t let this keep you from visiting. Go on a Sunday morning during season when the market is in full swing and the snack trailers are serving cholesterol-jacking breakfast fare. (Mini fried donuts, $3 a dozen).

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