I’ll take a beer without the chicken feathers please

Back home, in Pennsylvania, there is a flea market/auction that happens every Monday morning. It’s in Green Lane and it’s known locally as the “Perkiomen Sale”. It started off as a livestock auction across the river in Frederick, but then moved to its current location across the road from Green Lane Park. You drive in to the graveled parking area, and you can park right there at the road, or you can drive all the way in (watching out for wandering people and animals) and park close to the auction building. Scattered all around is tables, both permanent and temporary, where sellers set up bright and early (or rather “dark and early” as the sale opens at like 5am). Some have collections of junk that look like rejects from a hundred different charity shops. Some have worse-looking wares that look like they were picked out of someone’s trash (or from the leavings of the auction box-lots). Others have legitimate antiques (which are priced accordingly). Still others are selling wholesale items (socks, car stereos, cutlery, DVDs), produce, flowers, or other collectables that are not really antiques, but people buy them anyway.

Further in, there is the enclosed furniture auction building. The auction actually takes place outside under the pole-building-style roof. They auction furniture, appliances, antiques, box lots. Some of it really nice things from estates that are closing, other things… well who knows where it all comes from. I’ve seen box lots go for next to nothing, then the buyer takes his lot to a vacant table, picks through and retrieves what he likes, and leaves the remainder for the vultures (the people who stalk the auction and don’t buy anything, but watch for leavings like this). Many of them take the leavings back to their flea market table and put prices on them (the auctioneers don’t like this, but they can’t watch everyone 100% of the time).

Inside the building are the “stores” where sellers pay a montly rental fee to keep their wares inside under cover all year round. Many of them sell larger furnishings that are hard to move, or have vast collections of childrens’ toys, abandoned video games, costume jewelry and Christmas ornaments. I remember seeing much of the same inventory on display over the course of YEARS inside this building. Things that weren’t really “vintage” when I started going to the Sale as a teenager… well they most certainly are by now. Smilie: ;-)

The best thing about the Sale, however, is the livestock building. Not because they auction pigs, chickens and goats. But because it has a BAR attached to it. This is entirely true. You can’t make this up. Several factors are at work here. First, this is a flea market and auction that has a BAR in it, in a tiny wooden building smack in the middle of all the flea marketing that’s going on. Second that this Sale is only on Monday mornings from 5am until 2pm. There was enough demand for alcoholic drinks at the Sale on a Monday morning from 5am until 2pm, that they opened a bar. And third, the state of Pennsylvania granted them a license to sell said alcholic drinks. I want to explain this a little further: there are limited liquor licenses granted by the PLCB, insomuch as they limit the number of licenses per each 3000 inhabitants in a county (Montgomery County being the 3rd most populous in the state, per the US Census). So. At some point in history, the owners of the bar at the Perkiomen Sale applied for, were granted, and purchased a liquor license, and continue to renew it each time it comes up for renewal. Based on usage once per week, for approximately 9 hours.

This blows my mind. They’re not a club, nor a Veteran’s association. They’re not connected to a hotel or an inn. The closest thing to a restaurant are the 2-3 food carts scattered around the grounds or the snack bar inside the furniture auction building. And somehow, there is enough patronage for this bar (on a Monday morning from 5am to 2pm) to keep their license and keep the lights on.

No doubt the bartender is also the guy auctioning off the chickens.

Category(s): hometown, writing

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