Coming into Hamburg from Interstate 29 these days, it is impossible to miss the brightly-decorated army of clothing-store mannequins on the left side of the street across from the car wash as you enter town.
The mannequins, arrayed in loose formation in the front yard at 207 North Street, were decorated by Hamburg residents and businesses.
Present are superheroes, a Hamburg schools athlete, soldier with bandoliers, breast cancer awareness figure, Huskers fan, a Mexican, mascots from local businesses like John Deere and Survivors Ink South, farm animals encouraging passersby to consume species other than their own, creatures of uncertain origin, and a bee in a tutu.
The mannequin mob is the brainchild of Kim and Kevin Johnson, owners of the Awesome Possum Flea Market on Main Street. The figures serve a twofold purpose: to draw attention to the upcoming “Heads or Tails” Flea Market and Swap Meet in downtown Hamburg on Saturday, Sept. 30, and to tap into the latent creative juices of residents.
Kim Johnson reports that, “We started with just one mannequin for our (June flea market). It brought so much attention to our front yard…that we knew we had to keep expanding on it.”
The word got out. About 30 mannequins now occupy the yard, and Johnson predicts another ten or so will be added by the time the flea market rolls around next weekend.
Napa Auto Store, Awesome Possum Flea Market, Hamburg Antiques, Stoner Drugs, Wilson Handyman Service, Colonial Theater, Hamburg Library, Marnie Simons School, Doval Meat Locker, S&S Artifacts, Survivors Ink South, Corner Cottage Floral, and O'Hearn Honey have all contributed mannequins.
“We encourage selfies to be taken. There have been hundreds of selfies taken since we started really promoting this six or seven weeks ago,” Johnson said.
The list of vendors participating in the flea market is keeping pace with the mannequin outbreak. “We are on track for 150 vendors by the time the flea market rolls around,” said Johnson.
As of Sept. 14, 127 vendors were signed up to participate.
“You never know what you are going to find at this event,” said Johnson. “It unfolds from  City Park, winds down through Main Street and side streets, around the ball fields and down many more blocks to the south of town.”
Main and E Streets will be closed to auto traffic the day of the flea market, which will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The “Heads or Tails” Flea Market and Swap Meet will feature antiques, collectibles, household items, pictures, crafts, barn board, rugs, jewelry, knives, pottery, crockery, western paraphernalia, clothing, primitives, junk, garage sale items, food trucks, cast ironware, horseshoe art, and glassware. Refreshments will be sold.