“For lovers of the strange and unusual”—The Oddities & Curiosities Expo is a bit more than your typical flea market of vendors. It’s a museum, a collection, a hodge-podge of odd and unusual crafts from collectors across the country. To begin, let’s take a trip down memory lane to learn how this eclectic gathering of exhibitors came to be.
A Match Made in Punk-Rock Heaven
Michelle and Tony Cozzaglio met 12 years ago in Michelle’s hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tony was touring the city with his band, and Michelle came to his show—a match made in punk-rock heaven! After a few years together, Tony made the move to Tulsa himself, and the two realized they both had similar affinities beyond the music industry: all things odd and curious.
In 2013, Michelle and Tony decided to put their passions into play with an event called the Punk Rock Flea Market. Centered around a collection of local oddities and vendors, the alternative-style show began with two experiences in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Denver, Colorado.
An Odd Turn of Events
After its unexpected success, Michelle and Tony decided to take the market to the next level. With an online vendor application process and the close community of oddities collectors and sellers, more and more people began hearing about and participating in this eclectic event. Attendee numbers grew larger than Michelle and Tony could have imagined, surpassing 6,000 visitors at some of their earliest shows.
Today, the couple’s full-time job is coordinating and running this traveling event known as The Oddities and Curiosities Expo. The first, under this title, took place in 2017 with just two shows in their root cities—Denver and Tulsa. One year later, they quadrupled their appearances to eight shows in eight cities. The first of the eight was in Kansas City and hosted over 10,000 people! And last year, in 2019, they doubled their presence once more bringing them to 16 shows.
Taxidermy and Skeletons and Artwork, Oh my!
This year, Michelle and Tony are back on the road for a bigger and better year than ever with 22 Oddities and Curiosities Expos across the country. At each of these 22 shows, the O&C Expo showcases an extremely vast variety of hand-selected vendors, dealers, artists, small businesses, and performers from all corners. Michelle and Tony’s love for all things odd and unusual makes them the perfect hosts for such an event that showcases everything from taxidermy to funeral collectibles to skulls and bones.
“I really love the rare pieces—anything antique with a history and good story,” says Michelle.
And aside from the physical items on display at the show, the performances are truly unmatched. Michelle and Tony select particular acts based on their relation to the roots of old sideshow. From human pin-cushions to sword swallowers, there’s far more to see beyond what sits on a vendor’s table.
The Oddities and Curiosities Expo is a place where other lovers of the odd and strange to come and enjoy together.
For Lovers of the Strange and Unusual
“Our show really provides a safe place for people to come and feel welcome. They like weird things—and that’s okay! The Expo is a place for people to come and meet new friends or catch up with old friends,” Michelle says.
From what began as a small idea for locals and members of the punk-rock community has blossomed into a 22-show event averaging anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 attendees per city. In fact, Ripley’s was one of these attendees back in 2018 when the show took to New Orleans. We fell in love with the passion behind Michelle and Tony’s idea, and their appreciation for all things odd and unusual—from physical products to the art of sideshow.
And it’s no surprise, they’re a fan of ours too. “When I was a kid, I can remember going to Ripley’s in Branson, Missouri all the time! I’ve always been a fan of the museums and the television show,” Michelle recalls.
“For lovers of the strange and unusual,” this is one stop on your bucket list that you won’t want to miss.
For more information, head over to The Oddities and Curiosities Expo website, or check below for the full travel schedule!