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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Georgia Travel: Pendergrass Flea Market

Photo by Nicole Brooke Blackburn

What: Pendergrass Flea Market
Where: 5641 US Hwy 129N, Pendergrass, Georgia 30567
Hours of Operation: Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free Parking & Admission

This weekend was fairly uneventful for the Spousal Unit and me. I mostly spent it doing schoolwork and finishing a The Walking Dead season two marathon. We did watch a couple movies from Redbox that we'd been wanting to check off our list, so that was a plus. The highlight of the weekend, however, was when Brooke and I, on a random whim, decided to head a few exists north on I-85 to Jackson County and walk around the Pendergrass Flea Market Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Nicole Brooke Blackburn
Located in Pendergrass, a town about an hour northeast of Atlanta on I-85 with a population pushing 425 people [1], the site is about a quarter of a mile west of the interstate as soon as you get off at Exit 137. The flea market claims to be the largest one in Georgia, boasting on its website to have "more than 700 booths and 250,000 square feet of air conditioned space centered around a turn of the century-style 'Old Town Main Street'" (see picture below). It also hosts a petting zoo, carnival style games, pony rides, a paintball field, and much more. There is even live music featuring many local artists [click here for schedule]. 

A panoramic view of Old Town Main Street when you first step inside

To be honest, I found nothing especially extraordinary about this flea market. Many of the vendors carried the same things and I suspect that several of the booths were owned by the same merchants and strategically placed on opposite ends of the facility.  I had hoped that the Pendergrass Flea Market would house an antique store similar to the one at the Peachtree Peddlers Flea Market in McDonough, Ga. But, alas, there wasn't one. It was also disappointing to find that most vendors began shuttering their booths at 5 p.m. even though the hours of operation are list as 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Had we known this would happen, Brooke and I probably would have held off until the next morning so we would have more time to walk around.

Despite it all, our visit was an quite enjoyable. Aside from the knickknacks and sundries that are common to all flea markets, Pendergrass is host to an entire wing dedicated to pets and pet supplies (we almost came home with couple new pets), a tattoo parlor and body piercing shop (visit at your own risk), and a curious shop that sold a life size Jesus nailed to a cross (so creepy it's awesome). Upon learning that the stores were closing, Brooke and I rushed to some vendors we knew we wanted to check out. Luckily, the website had a fairly comprehensive vendor listing and map, so we had a general idea as to where to go. 

The food court wasn't bad either. Although, the food selection leaned heavily towards a survey of authentic Latin American cuisine, there was a variety from which to choose. There was even a Chinese restaurant and a Papa Johns. At times, the decision got pretty overwhelming. Everything smelled and looked delicious! We finally chose Jack's Chicken Ranch where they served fried—you guessed it!—EVERYTHING. I tried the fried fish platter with onion rings and Brooke went with the chicken and french fries platter. Both selections were scrumptious vehicles for grease. I would definitely eat there again.

Overall, it was a fun trip. There were lots of cute furry animals and fresh produce. Vendor prices were comparable with other flea markets and the place was indeed big. I might even concede to them the moniker of the largest flea market in Georgia. Since we don't live too far from Pendergrass, our random decision to drive up to the flea market wasn't a real schlep for us. However, someone living further away may find it more of a trek and not worth the drive. Regardless, I recommend adding the flea market as a two or three hour stopover to eat and shop if you are already in the general area antiquing or seeing the sights in one of the nearby towns.

We definitely will return in the future. We didn't get to walk the entire facility this time around  but for the most part we got the gist of the place. Next time, we will definitely check out the petting zoo and maybe see a concert. Check out my Facebook page for more pictures of our little trip—pictures like this one of this little bundle of fluff.