April 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM ET
As American as spring break and summer barbecue, flea markets thrive in every state, from California’s enormous Rose Bowl to parking lots in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Some markets are particularly renowned for their antiques: Collectors and designers look forward to the thrice-yearly Brimfield Antique Show in Springfield, Mass., with the anticipation usually reserved for wedding dress sample sales.
Markets like the Bay Area’s Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire and Long Beach, Calif.’s Antique and Collectibles Market mandate that everything for sale must be at least 20 years old, ensuring that there won’t be tube sock salesmen lurking among midcentury credenzas and vintage Fiestaware.
Other markets emphasize quantity: At First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, 3,000 vendors sell a Texas-size variety of wares, while the annual 127 Corridor Sale, stretching from Michigan to Ohio, offers 654 miles of yard sales along rural highways.
Whether held on county fairgrounds or in warehouses, all of these markets provide shoppers with bargains and the rush of a good find, and some even offer interesting foods, like Crazy Uncle Larry’s One-Pound Pork Chop in Springfield, Ohio, and wild blackberries picked for free in Tennessee’s Pickett State Park.
More from Food & Wine: