Twice a year the small town of Friendship, Indiana is host to a rather remarkable weeklong event. The tiny village is home to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. The NMLRA has sponsored twice yearly shoots for decades. Adjacent to the association grounds the traveler will find the Friendship Flea Market. This example of freewheeling capitalism is unique among the flea market genre
With the sounds of flintlock and percussion firearms booming throughout the valley a shopper in the Flea Market cannot help but enjoy the unique variety of vendors’ wares offered for sale or trade. Many of the vendors display items related to the muzzle loading crowd. Buckskin clothing is a common ware for sale. Furs and hides of many different species are available. Beautiful leather goods abound.
One craftsman had a booth full of handmade items with a Native American style. New flint arrow heads and spear points were a centerpiece of this man’s skills as a flint knapper. In addition one could purchase a hand crafted bow complete with arrows in a deerskin quiver. Various hides decorated the back walls of this interesting booth.
An observant visitor will soon notice that there are folks from all across the country and Canada set up at this event. The variety of vendors’ home states was matched only by the variety of goods offered for sale. In addition to items loosely related to the muzzle loading genre, everything from tools to oil paintings to diabetic socks can be found at the Friendship Flea Market.
The market runs up the length of a rather narrow valley. Paved walkways provide easy access to all visitors. The paved aisles are accessible to all. Two clean restroom buildings are a nice touch. Multiple food vendors are also in attendance. One vendor proudly announced the sale of bison and elk burgers.
The next market will be held June 14–22, 2014. The fall show will be held September 13–21, 2014. Plan now to attend this historic event. Check the Friendship Flea Market website for directions. The village of Friendship is an easy two hour drive from Indianapolis. Map your route first as some state that the location is out in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and don’t count on cell phone service. You have to be on a ridge top to use that modern convenience.