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Dome becomes valley's garage for a day

Among $2 swimsuits and a $5 Jolly Green Giant bank stood the brightest bargain of the day. Five and a half feet tall with broad shoulders and a slim waist, the full suit of aluminum armor glimmered in the eyes of many as they imagined it protecti...

Among $2 swimsuits and a $5 Jolly Green Giant bank stood the brightest bargain of the day.

Five and a half feet tall with broad shoulders and a slim waist, the full suit of aluminum armor glimmered in the eyes of many as they imagined it protecting their property with its sword.

"This would look great in our apartment," said one impressed shopper.

But it was Shawn Rode, 20, and his girlfriend, Katrina Bode, 19, who paid $60 to take the figure reminiscent of medieval armor home to north Fargo.

"I've never seen anything like it," Bode said, polishing the helmet. "I think he'd make some good company."

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There were plenty of proverbial worms for the early birds who ventured to the second annual Valley's Largest Rummage Sale at the Fargodome Saturday. Promoted by the dome and Clear Channel Radio, the part rummage sale/part flea market boasted 150 booths. More than 6,000 bargain shoppers were expected.

For sale: A girls' leopard print rain jacket -- $5; a deck of Delta Airlines playing cards -- $1; studded snow tires (used only one year) -- $75.

"I found a lot of clothes for 10, 20 cents," said Jane Matejcak of Blanchard, N.D. She worked until midnight, drove an hour home and was back in Fargo at quarter to 8 Saturday. Her mission: to buy clothes for her two young daughters, ages 6 months and 3 years.

"I'm taking these to the car and coming back," she said, holding up three white plastic garbage bags pregnant with clothing.

Rode and Bode were among the crowd that lined up before the rummage sale's doors opened at 7:30.

They weren't looking for anything specific until Bode spotted the armor.

Amelia Miranda, Moorhead, bought three of what she calls "tin men" during a recent trip to Mexico. She sells imports from the country at regional flea markets.

She didn't think the suits of armor would sell, but her son, 25, convinced her to try. They sold within a month.

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"They've been really popular," she told Bode and handed her a card. "You'll have to tell your friends where you bought it."

Rode grabbed the tin man with one hand around its waist, like the escort of a southern debutante. They marched up the stairs and through the dome parking lot until they reached the couple's Chevy Lumina.

"I don't know how this thing's going in there," Rode said, opening the back door.

At one point the couple thought they'd drive away with the tin man's head poking from the back window. But after 15 minutes of tin gymnastics, he fit diagonally in the vehicle.

"Let's go get some breakfast," Rode said.

It was a few minutes past 9.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534

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