The Oddities & Curiosities Expo Is Returning to the Indiana State Fairgrounds
Michelle Cozzaglio and her husband Tony have been organizing offbeat events since 2013. Being an oddities collector herself, Michelle thought it would be cool to put together an event that focuses only on the strange and unusual. In 2017 the couple created the Oddities & Curiosities Expo, starting in their hometown of Tulsa and holding a second event in Denver (their home away from home). The expos were so popular that the couple expanded to included eight cities in 2018, doubled the shows to 16 in 2019, and this year they are traveling to 22 cities around the country including San Diego, Chicago, Tampa, Dallas, Minneapolis, Charlotte and, in September, Indianapolis.
“This will be our second year in Indianapolis,” says Michelle, noting that the couple first decided to come to the Hoosier state because they received feedback on social media indicating that the Midwest was hungry for such an event.
“We had a ton of people suggest that we come to Indiana, and I’m so glad we did because we had an amazing turnout last year – 9,000 people,” Michelle says.
Michelle and Tony anticipate a similar crowd at this year’s event, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. The expo showcases various types of unusual and eclectic vendors, dealers, artists and small businesses, featuring items such as taxidermy, Halloween- and horror-inspired artwork, sculptures, jewelry, odd antiques, and handcrafted oddities like beautifully framed butterflies and unusual bugs. Many vendors offer impressive and interactive displays. All merchandise and collectibles are available for purchase.
“There are a lot of dark artists and oddities collectors out there who needed a place to sell their stuff,” says Michelle, who is especially drawn to antique quack medical devices. “This is the kind of stuff that you won’t find at a typical flea market.”
Roughly 50% of the vendors travel from state to state with the expo, while the other 50% are based in the city where the given expo is happening. The Indy expo, which will feature more than 200 vendors, will be held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds West Pavilion, in a spacious room that will hold both vendors and a stage for live performances of classic sideshows throughout the day.
“You’ll see people swallowing swords and walking on glass, as well as human suspension,” Michelle says.
Because there is a show every 30 minutes, everyone has the opportunity to catch at least one show regardless of when they arrive.
The expo draws a range of demographics, from youth to middle age to the elderly, all attending to satisfy a sense of wonder that lives inside us all. That’s what the founders wanted – to have something for everyone. They mix vendors together rather than separating them by section, in order to encourage visitors to give every vendor a chance.
“These things pique our curiosity,” Michelle says. “People are intrigued by the expo and think, ‘I wonder what I’ll see there? I’ve never seen a real human skeleton before.’”
Michelle says the exhibition also serves to unite communities. She feels this way because after shows she often receives notes and email messages from individuals, telling her they felt at home at the show and were unaware that other people had similar interests.
“That means a lot to me,” says Michelle, who is thrilled to bring people together and help them find new artists, make new friends and meet like-minded people. “In fact it makes me kind of emotional. Everyone deserves to feel welcome in a certain community, and sometimes it’s something different – and that’s totally fine. In fact, that’s the whole point of the Oddities & Curiosities Expo.”
Although VIP tickets are sold out, general admission tickets are still available for $10, and allow admission to the event from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Attendees who have purchased general admission tickets in advance can skip the line upon arrival. Kids under 12 will be admitted for free.
The Oddities & Curiosities Expo will be held on Sept. 26 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds West Pavilion, located at 1202 East 38th Street in Indianapolis. For more information and to purchase general admission tickets, visit odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com. You may also email email@example.com with questions and for additional details.