Olde Time Flea Market
Brown County has Fleas
by Marty Burton
Brown County’s flea markets are great places to find bargains and treasuresold, new, or unusual.
There are three flea markets in Gnaw Bone and a fourth in Bean Blossom; open Saturdays, Sundays, and some holidays, from the first weekend in April through the end of October.
Gnaw Bone’s Gypsy Moon Flea Market started up in 1973 on the north side of State Road 46 East with only a few booth spaces and an A-frame restaurant. The business has since grown to support a much larger number of booths. The restaurant is gone but the A-frame is still there and used as storage.
Gypsy Moon Flea Market
The current owner of the market, Jewell Bowers, was originally a flea market dealer there with her husband. The Bowers bought the operation in 1998. “After my husband passed away, I kept on running the market. That’s what he would have wanted, anyway,” Jewell said.
Antiques and garage sale items seem to be her cup of tea. There is an amazing variety from children’s clothes and toys to adult items such as stereo sets and unusual glassware.
The Olde Time Flea Market, owned by Charlie and Marsha Placke, was started in 1974. Charlie was sitting in the restaurant at the Gypsy Moon when it was mentioned they needed more room. Placke offered to open up the land across the street and before long another flea market was packed with more “stuff.”
The Plackes set up a concession booth they call the “Weenie Wagon” where they serve hotdogs, hamburgers, and drinks. Charlie boasts of their ice cream, delicious old-fashion sodas, sundaes with whipped cream, and banana splits. “We are known for our ice cream and specialty dishes.” Placke remarked.
On special occasions the Olde Time Flea Market provides entertainment with a band or puppet show.
Booths there are filled with antiques and collectibles, toys, clothes, sporting goods, old records, movies, and new itemssomething for everyone.
The Olde Time Flea Market also sits on State Road 46 in Gnaw Bone, with plenty of parking, outside tables, and a shade tree or two.
Westward Ho Flea Market
The third Gnaw Bone flea market is Westward Ho, just a short drive from the other two, on the south side of State Road 46.
It is known for handmade furniture, antiques, shotguns and rifles, and collectibles. Regena and Steve Brooks have been the owners for four years.
Regena grew up in Brown County, moved away, and then wanted to return. The opportunity arose to buy the flea market just as she was searching for a way to support the family in this area. Taking a leap of faith, the Brooks bought the business, and Regena got to come home.
This flea market has two main buildings with ceiling fans that give off a good breeze. There are several more structures at the entrance of the business where furniture, unusual crafts, clothing, and country charms are sold.
“It is like a treasure hunt,” Regena said. “You can find something unique you can’t find in storesand for a lot cheaper.”
Westward Ho also has a food concession stand with a covered seating area where cloggers and musicians sometimes perform.
If you are coming from north or headed in that direction you can browse the Bean Blossom Flea Market. It is located in the Bill Monroe Music Park and Campground, 5163 State Road 135 North, five miles north of Nashville.
Several years ago, Dwight Dillman, owner of the park that puts on the longest-running Bluegrass festival in the country, decided to give his campers and bluegrass lovers something extra to do on the weekends. The flea market dealers first set up under tents at the park entrance. Then Dwight built roofed shelters to protect the flea market items.
Bean Blossom Flea Market
There is plenty of parking for cars, buses, and RVs with onsite camping and cabin rentals.
Flea marketing is fun to do with the whole family. You get some fresh air and exercise while you search for that something special. The choices vary from one trip to another and you are sure to find a few surprises along the way. Happy treasure hunting.