If you were born 50 years ago, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that you’d live in what was probably the only century in human history that wasn’t huge on bazaar-style markets. North America is experiencing a renaissance when it comes to this style of shopping and bargaining. Whether it’s because it has become fashionable to shop second hand or people are just getting sick of the over-commercialization of, well…everything – flea markets have seen huge increases in attendance.
All successful flea markets offer a homey and simplistic way of browsing and purchasing food and fare in a fun and family-friendly fashion. Here are a couple of surefire ways to tell that you’ve landed at a great flea market!
All Day Operation
Many flea and farmer’s markets only operate during the morning hours – mostly due to traffic concerns as well as a declining interest in the later hours of the day. However, if you find a flea market near your house that is open all day, chances are it got that way because it has great items and a steady flow of attendees. As stated earlier, most street vendors will not stick to one area if their sales are weak. A flea market that is open all day is a sign of a bustling bazaar that is beneficial to both the vendors and the buyers.
Wide Variety of Items
Flea markets don’t actually sell fleas – they’re named that because they are a wide mish-mash of new, second hand or hand-crafted items. In the modern flea market, you can find food trucks, vintage electronics, antique furniture, a variety of kitchen goods art, jewelry, clothes, and more. A great market will have a lot of variety and must offer a good selection of products in order to be competitive.
It might seem inconsequential to measure the overall virility of a flea market by how navigable the aisles are, but it’s one of the signs you’re walking around a well-managed site. The best markets offer enough room for shoppers to stop and purchase items, while leaving enough room for passersby to peruse and move as they please without bumping into anyone and causing trouble.
Protection from Inclement Weather
Most flea markets take place outside during warm weather hours – which makes it easier to just throw up a couple canvas tents with a tarp; yet, since we’re still in the warm-weather months, it doesn’t need much more than that. A successful market will be located under a simple (but permanent) roof structure, or will otherwise take place indoors. This is indicative of the market’s need to stay open even during what is typically “off-season.”
A central location in a high-traffic region is a signifier that the market is an important piece of the local landscape. If it is easy to get to from public transportation or private vehicle, it is in a good position to be a quality venue that offers great food, items and experiences.
Prepared Food & Seating
You’d be hard pressed to find a flea market that didn’t sell food of some kind. Many markets expect you to walk around with your food and use the room required for adequate eating to be used for additional merchant booths. However, a market that is worth going to will have seating specifically for eating. A market that has designated eating areas is doing well enough to not have to utilize every space available for booth profit.
These aren’t the only signs you are attending a great flea market, but if the one you’re at has all of the above – you can bet it’s a special one!