Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Flea-Tique at the Mine.

c. David Grim (taken 6/12/04)

Weird. No matter how long I spend in this city, I'm always finding out about spots in the region that are worth visiting. You'd think I'd have about exhausted the strange sights around Pittsburgh. But apparently this stuff runs both broad and deep. Have you ever heard of the Tour-Ed Mine in Tarentum? I don't understand how I've missed this over the years. It's billed as Western Pennsylvania's Premiere Mine Attraction (!). Check out the site HERE.

The funny thing is that I ended up on top of this abandoned mining operation for reasons entirely unrelated to taking a look at the vast underworld of long-gone work. It was an odd coincidence that I found out that you could actually take a ride below the surface. I was there to check out Flea-Tique, which is held on the third Sunday of the month, May through October. I ran into a guy I know named Dino at a party, and he told me that he sold his freshly-made bread at the event. He described the place in a way that made it seem worth a visit.

Even though my friend and I didn't get up until after 10AM, it was still worth making the trip. I can get a bit uptight about making a late start for these sales, so when I got a call closer to noon than my ideal starting time, I was doubtful about the entire proposition. But it turned out that in the case of Fleatique you don't necesssarily have to be the first one there. Part of the reason that is true is because of the sheer mass and diversity of the offerings. There are rows and rows of tables with items you might expect to see, and a lot that you probably wouldn't. Even if you don't intend on buying much, it can be a lot of fun to look around.

Also, the vendors at Flea-Tique generally know what they have and what it is worth. You're not going to take someone unawares... not in this age of the Internet. If you get a super deal, it's probably not because you are smarter than the dealer, but because he/she is sick of toting it around. I imagine this especially applies on the last sale of the season. I went home with some old postcards of the Jersey shore and a children's book about a family of bottles. My buddy bought a chaise lounge at a very reasonable price, and we went home satisfied and willing to return again next year.

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