Saturday, May 15, 2010

Looking for Love at the Flea Market

What a beautiful day. The sun was shining, we had money in our purses and the flamingo's were marked down. Let the bartering begin. This is the bi-annual Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ohio. One of the largest antique and flea market events in Ohio. My mom, daughter and I decided to get there early to beat the crowds and get a good parking space. Well, so did everyone else. But there were still plenty of wonderful objects and deals to be made. 

There are strategies that are taught, written about, and told to help a new flea market shopper navigate the stalls. My first piece of advice is to always negotiate. It's expected and as long as you're nice about it, many will strike a bargain with you and are happy to do so.
My second piece of advice is to bring enough cash. If the great selection doesn't whittle it down, the food vendors will. Either bring snacks or prepare to pay for the fair-like food. It's hard to resist though. Do you know they make elephant ears in french fry form now? Evil. Good thing we walked a lot (I'm sure it wasn't enough, though).

My third piece of advice is..."If you see something you like, buy it. It may not be there the second time around." I ended up doing this with some typeset letters I had been looking for. I found them in a box, but there were a lot of repeat letters with not many vowels. The deal was $1 a piece or $30 for the whole box {which probably contained about 50 pieces}. I decided to go to lunch and then come back. Within 20 minutes half the box had been picked through. I asked again and the offer was $15 for the whole box. I bartered to $12.50 and took home about 30 pieces. Mostly T, U, V, W, X, and Y's. But I found that I had all the vowels but A. So guess what my next search will be for?

One thing I found different from last year and especially from 5 years before was the amount of vendors selling their items in groupings or vingettes, according to the style. Shabby Chic was very popular and smart vendors paired items together that enticed you to buy the whole look and not just one item. There were still the usual chotsky's and most were not my style, but I'm sure it was someone's.

Overall, I was happy with what I found and what I took home. Along with the typeset letters, I found a beautiful Jim Thompson silk scarf with such wonderful saturated blues and greens for only $10. I know these go for $40 and up but I don't plan on re-selling. It was bought because I loved it. 

And I think that is why most of us go to flea markets...looking for love. 


  1. Awesome photos, Tam! U have a great eye! Well, I like your other eye, too...

  2. Marvella McCluskeyMay 18, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    Your photography skills are excellent. Your blog is amazing and I love to see how you incorporate your photos with your story. Looking forward to the typesetting.

  3. Great shots of such pretty bits & baubles!