The PopCulteer
June 30, 2023

This week the PopCulteer is a short photo essay that just reveals a tiny bit of what we did after we left The Marx Toy & Train Show a couple of weeks ago.

Because my knee was screaming at me loudly, we skipped the second day of the Marx show, and instead hit the road West, and then North, to The Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market in Ohio.  This is just outside of Canton, and it’s much, much bigger in real life than it seems when you look at pictures on the internet. The plan was that I would not be mister photographer/blogger that day, and I’d just grab a few photos.

The drive was pretty easy. We just took Interstate 70 to Cambridge and turned North onto Interstate 77. Once we hit the correct exit, Hartville was only about four miles and several roundabouts away.

But driving up I 77, we spotted something.  Like a big, demented great white whale, only instead it was a tanker truck with a big smiley face painted on the back.

It was pretty far ahead of us, and we were probably behind it for twenty minutes before we even noticed it. After becoming fascinated with it for another ten miles or so, even though it was probably more than a quarter-mile ahead of us, I grabbed the camera, zoomed in all the way, and tried to get a few shots.

It was tricky, being zoomed in that far in a moving car, but I did manage to get a few photos, which you see here.

We noticed that the eyes were hearts, and thought this might have something to do with Love’s Truck stops, but we never got close enough to see any other markings.

This was about as close as we ever got, and this is zoomed in quite a bit, but once we noticed it, it was surreal seeing this giant smiling face bobbing around the horizon ahead of us for more than half an hour.

You’re seeing the above photos because, having expended that much effort on a day when I intended to play “civilian” and not take photos, I thought they might be mildly amusing for my readers.

Now, the primary reason we went to Hartville was that they are now host to a brand-spanking-new Everything’s Fiesta outlet store, stocked to the gills with all things FiestaWare,  including the new color, Jade, which had just become available a week or so before we were there. This was the only place I’d intended to take pictures that day.

They haven’t been open long, so they had banners instead of permanent signs.

The store was fully-stocked with the new Jade color.

They even had it in boxed place-settings.

This location itself was pretty big and clean.

With everything (new stock and factory seconds) in one big room, it might’ve been four times the size of the store in Flatwoods.

The seconds were all out in the open, and didn’t seem as dusty and musty as they do in Flatwoods or at the Factory store in Newell.

If you find yourself up that way and are a fan of FiestaWare, it’s worth the trip, with the Hartville Marketplace as an added bonus.

Now, having seen that, you may be wondering what the rest of the Hartville Antique Mall and Flea Market was like.

It was…huge.

In fact, it was so huge that when we pulled up and saw that the outdoor flea market was the size of several football fields, my knee, which is normally non-verbal, loudly said, “Screw that!” so we did not partake in the copious amount of outdoor flea marketry available to us that fine day.

Instead we went inside, where we found dozens of vendors on the first level, and too many objections from my knee to explore the second level. They had collectible toys, a huge food court, shops filled with cool stuff like clothing, jewelry, furniture, toys, and other goodies.  They also had some booths filled with not-cool stuff like guns and pro-Trump garbage, but its easy enough to avoid those vendors.

It’d take you a day to fully explore the inside shops, and probably a second day to peruse the outdoor flea market, and we are likely to return later this year so I can document the trip with photos and video, and also turn you on to another cool thing we found around Canton that shall remain secret for now.

But that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back every day for fresh content and our regular features, and get ready because, if all goes according to plan, you’ll have lots of new episodes of our radio shows on The AIR over the next two weeks.