The best-kept shopping secret in Texas?

May 13, 2012 8:17:28 PM PDT
It's the oldest and biggest outdoor flea market in the United States, and it's only four hours away from Houston.

Canton, Texas may be one of the best-kept shopping secrets in the state.

In a town of less than 4,000 people, you'll find a quiet, laid-back atmosphere. But four days out of every month, the tiny town of Canton explodes in population.

Crowds of people flock to what's known as the biggest flea market in the world: First Monday Trade Days.

Thousands of vendors cram the streets, selling and trading anything and everything you can imagine.

People come from all over the country to shop.

It's a tradition dating back to the 1850s when the local judge would come to town on the first Monday of every month.

"When he held court, people would come to town to see who was getting hanged or convicted. And in the process, they started trading. And as they bartered and traded, it just grew into what it is today," Linda Hatfield, operations supervisor, said.

It's massive treasure hunt with about 500 acres and more than 7,000 booths -- some inside, some outside -- to explore. It's impossible to see everything in one day.

Whatever you do, pace yourself because there is a lot of stuff, like handmade items from the quirky to the fancy, vintage collections and precious antiques. And let's not forget about the "junk" like old padlocks, keys, tools, toys, furniture and so much more.

But, like one vendor told us, everything is a treasure to someone.

The Canton market is open once a month for four days, Thursday through Sunday. For more information, visit www.firstmondaycanton.com.


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