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Not Your Average Flea Market: At La Pulga de Alamo, Stars Are Born

U.S.Not Your Average Flea Market: At La Pulga de Alamo, Stars Are Born

Every weekend, a flea market in Alamo, Texas, transforms from a Latino shopping mecca into a dance floor. The locals’ colorful moves have drawn fans around the world.

WHY WE’RE HERE

We’re exploring how America defines itself one place at a time. In the border city of Alamo, Texas, colorful dancers have turned a local flea market into a global internet sensation.


Reporting from Alamo, Texas.

The punishing heat of late spring does nothing to keep the crowds from descending on La Pulga de Alamo, one of the flea markets that are a center of both commerce and culture in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.

The tables and booths that spread across 70 acres, shaded under tarps and awnings, carry things that might not always be found at the local Walmart: spiro papa, an elaborate spiral of thinly sliced potatoes on a stick; the fragrant roasted corn cobs known as elotes asados; oversize statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe; piñatas that don’t quite resemble the Disney princesses they are supposed to represent.

For as long as anyone can remember, pulgas — Spanish for fleas — have been part of the fabric of El Valle, as the area is known to the large Spanish-speaking population in this part of Texas, a slice of Mexico just north of the border. This is never more true than on the weekend, when the market in Alamo transforms from a shopping mecca into a one-of-a-kind dance hall whose fame has spread across the country and beyond.

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