1-3-13 or the Lost Markets of the Valley

On the 13th I went out on my usual Sunday run.  I decided to change up the routine and check out some of the more obscure markets around here.

1. Wesmer Flea Market

I started at the Mercedes Flea Market or the “Wesmer” market as it is sometimes called.  It shares the same name as the old Drive-In Theater across the road from it.  Both these locations are placed on the border between Weslaco and Mercedes, hence the name.

Its a small market but it has been known to hold the occasional treasure.  It costs only $0.25 to get in so it’s good price for what it has.

It doesn’t look like anything special with market stalls just like the other Flea Markets.

One thing this place does have the other markets don’t is a Pavilion that they use for their local bands and other small events they hold there.  It’s also good for keeping out of the rain.  This is great because it contains the music to a single area which keeps the noise to a minimum while still allowing the ambient music to still reach the rest of the market.

I looked around the market and saw pretty much the same stuff that I had scene before.  The vendors there that I knew had very little to offer with nothing new to entice me.  I went through the whole market and found nothing to take home.  Time to move on.

2.  Weslaco Flea Market

I moved on, heading back in the direction of home.  I stopped off in Weslaco to check out some local stores to see what I could find.  Nothing special was around but there was the Weslaco Indoor Flea Market.

I had visited this place many times before but there was never anything especially great.  It has all the kitschy crap you find in all the other markets with only the rare vendor who has something special.  It’s much like the Bargain Bazaar in McAllen, in which has all the same people selling the exact same thing day after day.

As it happens I did see something that interested me.  A vendor was selling antique metal signs along with some video game merchandise.  He had a metal Silver Surfer sign for sale that I wanted.  Unfortunately, he wanted $12 for it.  He was willing to selling it for $10 if I bought two or more signs.  One of the things I hate about these places is that they never haggle.  They are consistent sellers for their merchandise and might as well be a dollar store or mini-mart.  I passed on the sign but took heart that it was very likely that the sign would be there for a while.

3.  Donna Flea Market

Or the “Fiesta” Flea Market as it says on the sign.  As I left Weslaco I decided to make a last stop in Donna to see if there was anything at the Flea Market there.  Like the Wesmer its only open on Sundays and I have found a few treasures there before so I was praying that I would get lucky after having such a lousy day.

There was not much there even for the time I got there.  The weather wasn’t great but it seemed like nobody wanted to be there.  I made a quick run through which didn’t even take Five Minutes.  I found nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  It had been quite a while since I struck out at one of the Flea Markets let alone Three.  Guess it had to happen sometime.  At least I got the experience of going and documenting the trip so as I could share it with all you nice people.

So, there you have it.  I will be posting what I found at the Alamo Market this past Sunday soon so keep an eye out for that.  Till next time!

Alamo Flea Market

Since I have been talking so much about it, and I frequent it so often, I have decided to post about my local pickin’ spot, the Alamo Flea Market.

The sign above is what you would see from the front entrance by Expressway 83.  I usually go through the back which is closer to my house and has more of the vendors that I frequent.

Here is the back gate which leads into the market and the first site upon entering is this.

From here you have the option to go down one of the numerous isles that make up the market.  There is no particular scheme for what makes up the flea market.  You could go down any of the isles and find something that you could find in any other the other ones.  What does occur here in the rear entrance is one of two  “food court” style areas of the market.  The rear being the larger of the two.

Food vendors have small stalls or snack trucks that provide food for the patrons of the market.  Tacos, Hot Dogs, Burgers other “carnival” type foods are the usual fair.  The “Spyro Papa” is a local treat which is popular here.  Its a spiral cut potato which is deep friend on a skewer and served with condiments.

Another thing that is located here is a stage area where local performers will play music and sing for the people who stop here to eat.  It’s all in Spanish and they play way too loud for my tastes but the locals seem to like it.

A great thing about his place is the availability of fresh produce.  There are all kinds of fruit and vegetables for sale here at the pulga.  It used to be a Farmer’s Market back in the day and I guess it still is for all intents and purposes.  The items are cheap and usually of good quality.  It’s better to go early to get the best choice of food if that’s what you’re looking for.

On top of fruits and vegetables at this market you can also get your hands on all manners of animals.  From barnyard to domestic, all kinds of animals are to be had.  I’ve seen chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and even the occasional pig.  A lot of vendors sell litters of puppies and kittens that they have from their own pets so you can get a pet cheaper than what you would find at a pet store.  There are also more exotic pets like parrots, snakes, spiders, scorpions, turtles, etc.  Most are healthy and clean but there will be the occasional wretch for sale in the market.  It’s an old trick to have a poor animal for sale to tug on the heartstrings of the patrons and get them to buy the poor animal to keep it from suffering.

Upon reaching the back corner of the lot you will find an anachronism.  An old-fashioned “Freak Show” of the kind you would see in Circus’ back in the day.  I don’t know how long it has been here but it has been located at the flea market for as long as I remember.  It’s only a dollar to see but the quality if obviously sub-par.  I’ve never been in myself but a lot of people go in for a cheap thrill and to freak out their kids.

On the flip side of the coin is a little carnival area that has rides for the kids.  Its located closer towards the front area of the market next to a music vendor and “restaurant”.

As far as the rest of the market goes there’s a little bit of everything.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  Be prepared to walk and don’t be afraid to haggle.  Some merchants will even be good enough to let you try out some of their wares before buying or allow you to return it if it doesn’t work.

Happy hunting!

South Texas Collector’s Expo 2012

On Saturday the 22nd I had the opportunity to go see the South Texas Collector’s Expo in Laredo, TX.  It would be the first time since I was living in Austin that I would visit a Collector’s Expo and I was not disappointed.

There was much to see and many toys and collectibles on sale there.  A lot of great stuff was out of my price range but I managed to walk away with some cool swag anyways.

Here’s what I came back with.

Not too bad, huh?  Here’s a rundown of what I came back with.

1.  Custom Derpy Hooves Mini-Fig

This little figure was one of the first things I saw there at the Expo.  I wasn’t really looking for Pony stuff but it was a nice find regardless.  Derpy is a fan favorite in the Pony fandom but there are no official toys for her character other than a very expensive figure that was available only at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.  So, many fans decided to make their own Derpy figs by repainting some of the mini-figs that you buy from stores.

This one was made by a local artist who’s name I unfortunately did not catch.  She was selling Furry ears and tails along with sketches and custom artwork.  She made this Derpy fig and the accompanying sketch and gave me both for the price of $15.

2.  Titanium Series: Star Destroyer

Anyone who knows me knows I love little spaceships.  I’ve been collecting the Titanium Series ships for years.  Most of these ships are Star Wars related but there are also some from other shows and movies.  This would be my first Star Destroyer and this particular one is from Star Wars IV: A New Hope as it has a small Rebel Blockade Runner underneath that goes in and out of the bottom of the ship.  Neat, huh?  Got it for $2.

3.  Mighty Muggs: Asajj Ventriss

This particular find was not actually a purchase I made at the Expo.  This was given to me by my best friend Melinda (Wife of my other best friend and Pulga Partner, Iggy) who brought it to sell/trade at the show.  Asajj is a favorite character of mine from The Clone Wars cartoon.  As such, she gave this toy to me in thanks for driving us to the Expo.  Score!

4.  Star Wars Vintage Figures

These two “Vintage” figures are of Luke Skywalker (in his black Jedi outfit from Return of the Jedi) and Barriss Offee (Jedi Padawan from Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars).  The “Vintage” figures are Premium Star Wars figures are are boxed in vintage style packaging, like the way Star Wars figures came out back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, even for characters that didn’t exist back then like Barriss.  They usually run a few bucks more than the regular figures that are stocked in stores averaging around $10 each .  These two are complete in their blister packs without the boards and each went for $3.

5.  Set of 6 SW: Episode 1 “Danglers

These small vehicles are all from The Phantom Menace and have a suction cup and wire connected to each one allowing it to ‘”dangle” from wherever it is attached.  I had one of these that I had found at the flea market a long time ago and it stayed in my truck a good long while.  When I upgraded to my car I took it along and put it on the windshield as I did on my truck but, unlike my truck, my car had no tint so it melted in the summer heat.  At my wife’s insistence I got the matched set of danglers for $5.

6. Johnny Lightning –  Lost in Space Series: Space Pod Miniature

This little miniature was a lucky find.  I am a classic Lost in Space fan and had wanted to get these little mini vehicles from the show ever since they came out in stores years ago.  They were a little pricey at the time when they first came out so I waited to get mine once they were off the racks.  Sadly they became collectible on the secondhand market and I couldn’t see myself shelling out big bucks for such a little thing.  I found this one at the expo for $3.  Score!

7.  Emperor Starscream Mini-Poster

This was part of a set of 3 mini-posters that the wife and I bought from a vendor for $20.  She got two posters for herself and I picked one for myself to complete the set.  They a had a few good posters in their selection that I considered getting but I settled on getting this one of “Emperor” Starscream from Transformers: The Movie. I’m a big Starscream fan and this will go great as a backdrop for my little “shrine”.

8.  Starscream Wall Poster

This full sized wall poster was actually found by Melinda while I was looking through a bin of old posters.  How I missed it the first time I’ll never know but this was certainly a great find.  I hope to get a frame for this and put it up someplace nice.  I hope to have it for a long, long time.