Bargains, bargains, bargains … that’s what drives shoppers in the thousands to the D.C. Big Flea Market – the huge antiques show at the Dulles Expo Center, coming again this Sept. 20-21. Two giant expo buildings, each 100,000 square feet, are packed with smart buys. No wonder USA Today calls the D.C. Big Flea one of the “mega–shows” in the United States. Without a doubt, it’s the place to be; the one show that has you saying, “I can buy something here” and walking away with a purchase that is very special indeed. The variety, the size, the bargains – it’s what makes this, the East coast’s best loved and best-attended antiques shopping experience.
And although the D.C. Big Flea is known as a show where you can still get a deal, it is the quality of its treasures that has visitors saying “wow.” The show is simply awesome to behold – aisle after aisle of the finest antiques, popular collectibles and reasonably-priced items that would make perfect gifts or a wonderful new addition to your home. Where else will you find an unusual, majestic turn-of-the- century armoire – the kind of find that serious antiques shoppers look long and hard for – in the same aisle with a booth filled with old door knobs and rustic tools that are being used today in restoring those self-same Victorians with their original finishing touches. Even Bob Vila would be proud!
Introduce your children to the wonders of your own childhood. There are booths filled with those valuable cast-iron toys from decades ago that delight the young eye along with toys from the 1960s and later. You’ll find dozens of puzzles and board games still in their colorful, original boxes that you’ll remember having enjoyed on long-ago winter nights with Mom and Dad. Now share those special moments with your own children. You might not be able to beat your kid at Playstation or X-Box, but you’ll have a leg up on this one.
Can’t buy that perfect antique lamp in the window because it’s just too expensive? You may find it at the D.C. Big Flea Market at a price you can well afford. You may be able to get two. And, isn’t that a terrific feeling? This is a show where fine art and antiques live along with the Mom and Pop booths filled with country antiques and collectibles that bring you back to a far simpler time. You’ll love the vintage advertising signs and original barbershop poles that used to be outside old Stanley’s barbershop, where a cut and a shave was still under a dollar. Colorful tin advertising signs from the 1950s bring those memories back to the future, and you don’t even need a DeLorean.
Remember Wonder Bread? It was as white as the Lone Ranger’s horse. Philip Morris? That’s back when smoking was actually acceptable. Old advertising posters and signs are one of the hottest collectible markets these days and you’ll find a wealth of material at the show to add to your growing collection or get you started.
The D.C. Big Flea Market loves to do things up big. You won’t find just a few Victorian hat boxes, but rather a booth filled with so many elaborately decorated ones, they boggle the eye. You won’t find just one 1950s plastic kitchen clock in the shape of a teapot, but a dozen or more from which to make your selection. Love Hummel figurines? Imagine a 30-foot long booth with an entire army of them – 79 vertical rows, seven shelves deep with small Hummel “duos” and large figurines waiting to gleefully invade your home.
Are old magazine covers your passion? Joe DiMaggio on the front cover of Sports Illustrated, fashionable models gracing old Vogue Magazine covers early Saturday Evening Posts and Colliers, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus posters – they’re all here along with dozens of wonderful selections in the reasonable price range of $20 to $200. At these prices you can afford to be a collector and take your wife out to a nice dinner at the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel when you are done.
This is also the show where you’ll discover treasures that you can’t find anywhere else, such as the extremely rare World War II Samurai sword and rifle wrapped together in the same original shipping materials that have never been opened. History comes alive at this show, with other booths devoted to historic finds such as early weaponry from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Dealers, such as Charles Tovar of Southern Renaissance Fine Art, owner of that unique Samurai sword and rifle are open to giving you an impromptu history lesson you won’t soon forget. And, that’s a wonderful bonus.
With the official first day of autumn the 22nd of September, don’t miss the booths filled with sporting collectibles. Vintage college pennants will take you back to the stands; old wooden skis and poles remind you of the slopes, creels and fly rods bring back memories of that childhood fishing trip with Dad, framed photographs from the twenties and thirties celebrate sports heroes of yore, and old wooden bats bring back the magic of the days of Babe Ruth.
You’ll also find everything you need for a truly old-fashioned Christmas at the show. Trim your Christmas tree the way your Mom did it when you were little and bring back those special memories. Who knows, Santa Claus just might have something in mind for you at the D.C. Big Flea.
It’s all here: items that would cost $2,000 or more anywhere else at half the price, many well below $1,000. This is where you will want to head for the best deals on furniture. The D.C. Big Flea offers such variety – big beautiful armoires, dining tables and headboards from the Victorian period, mid-century modern chairs and sofas, country furniture and traditional European. Spotted at a recent show: an inlaid wardrobe in mint condition for $325, a beautiful pedestal dining table for $475 and other “steals” that put you into a buying frenzy. That’s the allure of the D.C. Big Flea!
Show hours are: Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.5 p.m. The show takes place at the Dulles Expo Center (4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, Va.). Admission: $8 (good for both days).
For more information call 757-430-4735 or visit www.damorepromotions.com.