AUGUSTA—On Saturday, September 2, and Sunday, September 3, the weirder you are, the more you’ll find your people in the second year of the Maine Odd & Unusual Show held at the Augusta Civic Center.
Founder and organizer Misty Lane is running the show with her husband, Christopher Bishop. Their home-based taxidermy business, called Hillbilly Furniture and Furs, operates out of Fairfield. Lane grew up in Fairfield but moved away for a number of years. She and her husband bought land and moved back to her hometown.
The show tends toward the supernatural, the occult, metaphysical nature-based gifts, and home goods that are on the darker side with more than 100 vendors
An example of vendors includes artists who make art out of insects, moss, and mushrooms, crafters who sell crystals and apothecary items, sword swallowers, and people who sell curiosity antiques, such as caskets.
“Pretty much if you can find it in nature, you’ll find some kind of art with it at the show,” said Lane. “It’s basically anything that people would turn their nose up at if they were at a regular craft fair.”
She said: “We sell weird stuff ourselves. We sell animal skulls, bones, wet specimens, and crystals, among other things. We used to travel the country with a big oddities show, but decided we wanted to just stay in Maine, find our own niche, and organize our own show.”
A wet specimen, for the uninitiated, is a dead animal preserved in formaldehyde and preserved in a jar.
“Anything from the hearts of animals to the whole animal, such as a snake” she explained.
Lane who hunted with her father, grandfather, and family as a kid, was interested in taxidermy at a young age, where she collected the bones, hides, and antlers of animals.
“I always liked the idea of preserving the other parts of what you hunted so not anything went to waste,” she said. “Whatever weird things I’d find in the woods would come home with me. It was just another way to memorialize the animal.”
Turns out more people around the country share this same love for items odd and unusual.
Hillbilly Furniture and Furs has more than 12,000 likes and nearly 260 reviews.
“I already knew there were people in Maine who liked what we did because they were buying stuff from us, but we found, through our own networks, there are a lot of vendors all over the country who share the same interests,” said Lane.
“We call ourselves the merry band of weirdos,” she added. “It’s not for everyone, but once you get into that niche or group, you find a lot more people who are into the same kind of things you’re into.”
The show will also feature a haunted house people can walk through and a special scavenger hunt for the kids.
According to Lane, the Odd & Unusual Show will take place every Memorial Day weekend and every Labor Day weekend in August.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org