This week, I wrote about the Brownville Flea Market, an event that I have attended many times in the past, and which I have come to love.
I love flea markets, estate sales, garage sales, thrift stores and auctions (in fact, the sound of an auctioneer is one of my most favorite sounds in the world).
This column is usually dedicated to all things nightlife and entertainment. And “flea market” doesn't exactly scream either of those things.
But I think flea markets are moving in that direction.
Junkstock, a three-day flea market/junk festival in West Omaha first held this spring is having an encore performance Oct. 12-14. Junkstock, which is organized by Sara Alexander, who owns the Junque Factory in Papillion, is more curated and thus looks more like something featured on a trendy design blog than a collection of random junk vendors (not that there is anything wrong with random junk vendors). The spring Junkstock had live entertainment, as well as an appearance by Lil Scoutie, the mobile version of the Dundee vintage and on-trend secondhand clothing shop, in addition to vendors of antiques, upcycled items and primitive junk. More information is available at www.junkstockomaha.com.
This weekend also is the Junk Jaunt, a hybrid of a road trip and a huge neighborhood garage sale. About 35 communities along the event's 300-mile route will each host what essentially amount to mini flea markets Friday through Sunday, inviting people who enjoy road trips, garage sales or both to rummage through old furniture, home decor, kitsch and more. Bonus: A great chance to explore small-town taverns. (If I were to recommend just one, it would be the Northside bar in Burwell, Neb., which is decorated almost entirely with vintage rodeo photographs). A map of the Junk Jaunt route and list of participating communities is online at www.junkjaunt.com.
And, of course, there's the Brownville Flea Market, which I'm planning to attend with a group of friends, as I do nearly every year.
I love picking through the booths, hunting for cheap Pyrex baking pans and bizarre home decor (I still regret passing over a lamp shaped like a deer a few years ago). But I also like checking out the Antiquarium, formerly in Omaha's Old Market and currently in Brownville's old schoolhouse. The Lyceum in downtown Brownville is another fantastic used bookstore, in a beautifully renovated downtown building.
And after wandering through the flea market booths and bookstore shelves, I enjoy heading to TJ's Tavern and having a beer on the giant outdoor patio.
TJ's feels a bit like a biker bar; it's also huge for a tavern in a town of fewer than 150 people. TJ's is a live music venue that occasionally books big shows — most famously Willie Nelson in 1993, who gave a Farm Aid concert there.
Ten miles away in Auburn, Neb., is a favorite bar of a friend of mine. He grew up in Auburn, and visits the Southside Bar when he's home. When he was back over the Fourth of July weekend, the bartender was auctioning pieces of his beard to raise money for the local fireworks display.
I can't promise something that awesome will happen when you visit, but you never know.