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Flea Market Vendor Spotlight: George the Sign Painter

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Date: Jul 21, 2016

Flea Market Vendor Spotlight: George the Sign Painter #644

By Anna Pasquali

I dare you to leave George and Sheila Borum's booth without a smile on your face.

If browsing through the sarcastic and witty signs don't get you to chuckle, ask George to tell you about Poor Ol’ George™ and Possum County. Just be prepared to stick around for a while, cause' I feel like he could joke around for hours.

George the Sign Painter has been a Shipshewana Flea Market vendor for 27 years. He has been an artist for much longer - he started painting signs when he was just five years old.

"My dad was a sign painter," said George. "He would outline the letters and have me fill them in. Dad would say 'you either work, or you don't eat."

At age fifteen to eighteen, George was illustrating books. He even published a newspaper and a calendar for many, many years. Now, he is 78 years old and is quite the well-known artist, creating signs, folk art and so much more. 

"I'll be painting until I die," he said.

He and his wife Sheila travel with a group called the Walldogs about once a year to paint huge, gorgeous, historical murals in towns across the country.

In 2014, the Walldogs actually came here to Shipshewana, Indiana. George helped to paint the Pletchers mural on the Shipshewana Trading Place Pavilion, located just across the street from the flea market. If you've ever walked around town, you've probably noticed the murals. Be sure to stop by George's booth to thank him for donating his time!

 Oh... and here's a Shipshewana love story for you: George and his wife actually met at the flea market way back in 1990! They set up their booths next to eachother.

"He tells people that he interviewed ten different women at the flea market, but I was the only one with a good corner booth by a gate, so he married me," laughs Sheila .

Now...let's talk for a moment about these custom, hand-painted signs. You've probably seen them all around the flea market at different vendor booths. They're bright, legible and gorgeous. I even have one with my name on it hanging in my office right now.

And where else but the Shipshewana Flea Market could one buy a sign that reads, "We don't skinny dip, we chunky dunk"?

George and Sheila sell party signs, old-time signs and a big selection of flags as well. Visit George the Sign Painter to at building 644 in the Shipshewana Flea Market every Tuesday and Wednesday from May through the first Saturday in October.  For more information, email georgesigns@comcast.net.

View a full listing of vendors by picking up a print directory while you're at the flea market, or download our all-new free mobile app.

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