A day at Grafton Flea Market

Oh please. Don’t even pretend you’ve never gone here.


It’s Grafton Flea Market, the first big Grafton attraction that welcomes visitors coming north on Rte. 140. Grafton Flea Market has been in business for over 35 years, spreading over several acres both outdoors and in.

Let’s face it, say “Grafton” to people from out-of-town and you’re going to get one of three reactions:

1) “I had to take my dog to the animal hospital at Tufts and it was life-or-death, but wow, that was a pretty town.”

2) “Grafton’s Common is really pretty.”

3) “Oh my God, I LOVE the flea market.”

My in-laws fall into the latter category. My father-in-law is a minor lawn sale and flea market deity — you wouldn’t believe some of his finds — and my mother-in-law is always willing to rummage for a bargain, or just a chuckle at some of the things that people might put out to sell.

The flea market is open every Sunday during the warmer months (I want to say Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend, but their Web site is very unhelpful on the matter. Also, I’m extremely grouchy because the article I wrote for my own newspaper chain just a couple years ago is NOT online at all, so I can’t even refer to that), technically until 4 p.m. I say “technically” because just about everyone goes in the morning and a lot of vendors are packed up by 2 p.m.

Let’s talk about the vendors.

If you’re in the market for a fake handbag and don’t feel like venturing into Boston, congratulations. You’re gonna find fake Coach bags all over the place at the Grafton Flea Market.

I also spotted “designer” sunglasses and sneakers and all kind of accessories. As the woman who was admiring my coupon holder (seriously!) at the supermarket said today, “the economy is tanking, so you gotta cut corners where you can.”

This does not mean I advocate buying this creepy singing doll. I’m blaming her for my insomnia. Just knowing she’s out there, singing this little song about how much she loves me while kicking her feet… she could have followed me home. She might have clung to the undercarriage of the minivan and is now slowwwwly making her way into the house because she wants to plaaaay….

And hey, once I’ve defended my sleeping family from the demonic possessed doll, I at least have my bargain box of off-label Band-Aids, I mean, Bang-Ez, to place over my bleeding wounds.

You’re going to find boxes of this type of thing all over the flea market. Oddly named batteries, weird plastic toys that probably contain toxic paint, bags of sponges. Some of the booths are just full of stuff you’d find at a dollar store, but even cheaper. And there’s always a table or two full of perfumes or excess Avon or Mary Kay products.

I’ve never seen these oversized blankets with Jesus, or wolves, or the Statue of Liberty, outside a flea market, but someone must buy them.

You can also count on finding a fair amount of sports memorabilia. Where have all the baseball card vendors gone? They’re all hanging out at flea markets. My son, of course, despite being an avid Red Sox fan, skipped right over all the baseball cards and went straight for the Pokemon, which was the big craze at camp this year.

And there are tons of booths selling old CDs and DVDs and… hold the phone…

… apparently this guy sells so much midget porn he has to differentiate between midgets (fat) and midgets (thin).

Oh. My. God. One end of the table was all fishing gear and then, it was all brown box XXX territory. Amateurs! College girls!

I cannot WAIT to see what’s going to clog my spam filter as a result of this post. And I’m probably going to be the first thing that comes up on the Google search “Grafton midget porn.” Sigh.

Moving on…

The guy at this booth was one of the only people who actually asked why I was taking pictures. I told him I liked how the drums looked stacked all vertical this way. Which was true.

Basically, when you walk the market, just be prepared for anything. You don’t know if you’re going to find cereal…

Or power tools or meat slicers…

Or hand-painted country-decor signs. Seriously, if you’re in the market for a sign, check these people out. They take orders and were super-nice. A few of the vendors are just people who are trying to get their hobbies noticed to build a little side business.

And then, there’s the candy man. I swear, this booth has been there since I was a little kid. I vividly remember a flea market trip that included me buying a necklace with horse-head cameo on a giant faux-gold chain — hey, it was the ’70s and I was in my horse phase — and a big batch of candy from this booth.

Admission to the flea market is $1 for adults and kids under age 12 are free.

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