The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2010

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Flea Market Treasures and Pleasures

by Alexandra Edwards

During the weekend there's nothing like getting up at the crack of dawn, grabbing a fast food breakfast and heading out to the local outdoor flea market.

Many flea market vendors set up their wares in the wee hours of the morning to ensure they get a good spot. Often early birds are there ready to catch the worm way before daybreak.

One person's junk is another person's treasure, so you never know what goodies you may find whether it be along the extensive rows of tables, back of a pick-up truck or from a neatly laid out tarp on the ground.

Regular vendors seem to relish in the atmosphere of the flea market, often traveling from one market to another to see where their goods sell best. No matter what the weather, most market vendors are there year round. During summer, they talk about how hot it is and winter they bundle up and complain about the cold,  yet always, they manage to greet shoppers with a smile.

Alexandra Edwards

During these times when money is not quite as easy to come by as it was a few years ago, flea markets can work in positive ways for both the seller and for the buyer. For a minimal amount of money, anybody can set up a stall or a space at a flea market and sell their unwanted household items just as they would with a garage sale. The amount of bargain hunters stopping by should soon pay the rental of the space and a few extra bucks can be made.

On the other hand, the buyer also has the opportunity to save a considerable amount of hard earned money by shopping for goods at the flea market.

For most flea market goers, flea markets are just a pleasant laid back pasttime, something that's both relaxing and  somewhat exciting  looking through other people's junk and wondering what may be found. Hoping that maybe, just maybe, a less experienced vendor may have missed a valuable treasure. Everyone loves a bargain and for the most part there are plenty to be had at flea markets, anything from clothes, jewelry, purses, shoes, socks, toys,  fresh fruit and vegetables, goats and hens, guns and ammo, DVD's and CD's, LP's (remember them?) tools, tires, rugs, toiletries and cosmetics, antiques and collectibles, or just plain old rusty junk!

Caring dog owners often bring the puppies of their pet to the flea market in the hope of finding them a good home. Many times the puppies are offered free, giving them a second chance of life. Two of my own wonderful dogs were selected from the flea market as free puppies several years ago, they live happily on the farm with two other dogs and  have given in return so much pleasure.

One outdoor flea market worth visiting is the Big D Flea Market on Cleveland Hwy in Dalton, Georgia. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the market has around 900 trading spaces. Rental rates for tables under the sheds are $7, outside tables $5, or a 10x10 space is just $4. When it's too hot or cold outside, shoppers can cool off or warm up in the indoor flea market which has 100 tables.

Saturdays are usually their busiest day, but depending on the weather, Sundays can be just as busy. Seasoned bargain hunters will find it more advantageous to start at the back of the flea market winding their way along the outside tables ending at the covered tables at the front.

A full tour of the flea market is not only a good way to browse the stalls, but  also good exercise, plus you may even get to learn a little Spanish from some of the vendors along the way.

East Ridge Flea Market in Chattanooga is one of Tennessee's largest indoor flea markets, but also has a good outdoor market. Located on Ringgold Road at Exit 1 of I-75, the flea market is open every Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am to 6:00pm. Trading booth rental rates range from $25 to $33 per day inside and $21 outside. With over 250 vendors the indoor market has a wide variety of booths selling antiques and collectibles, jewelry, beanie babies, watches, baseball cards, apparel, shoes, crafts and hobbies, novelty toys, kitchen ware, tools, food and much more. For those bargain hunters that like to make a day of it, the market has three restaurants with full menus.

Outside vendors sell more of the 'used' items usually found at outside flea markets such as bric a brac, clothing, tools, CD's and DVD's etc; and is directly behind the indoor market. For more information on East Ridge Flea Market call (423) 894-3960.

For shoppers that prefer to take a nice scenic drive on the way to browse a flea market, head East on State Highway 64 toward Murphy, North Carolina. Decker's Flea Market at the junction of Route 19 and 129 is open Saturday and Sunday, 7:00am to 3:00pm.  From furniture and antiques to quilts, stone ware and all the usual flea market merchandise, this outdoor/indoor market has just about something for everybody. As market stalls and booths are spread along both sides of the highway, it can sometimes be a little tiring to do the full tour, but makes for a great day out. For rental rates and  more information on Decker's Flea Market call (828) 837-5753 or (828) 837-0786.

Whether you want to save money, make a little money, search for treasures, take a drive out, get some fresh air and exercise or just have a relaxing laid-back weekend, visiting an outdoor flea market is great idea.