There’s a new game in town for those who fancy themselves “pickers.” Those whose idea of a good time is kicking around a flea market in search of treasures are in luck as well.
The nascent Lawrence Flea market, which started last October, embarked on what will be its first full season on April 7 with around 10 vendors selling everything from vintage trophies and vinyl records to NASCAR T-shirts and knives.
Lawrence Flea organizer Angela Longhurst, who grew up going to antique stores and auctions with her mother, has traveled regularly to flea markets throughout the region as an adult. Noting the abundance of local collectors and artists in the Lawrence area, as well as the current popularity of “junking” reality shows like American Pickers and Storage Wars, Longhurst said the timing is ripe for getting a flea market going in Lawrence.
“I figure if I’m going to do this, now is the time,” Longhurst said.
The outdoor Lawrence Flea will be at the Teepee Junction at the intersection of Highways 24 and 40 on the first Saturday of each month from 9-4 through November. Longhurst said that the flea market is still in its humble beginning stage, but she has high hopes for the market over time.
“I have plans,” she said. “I have big ideas.”
Longhurst said she would love for the market to ultimately be a destination where people could come to shop, socialize, eat and even listen to music. She is looking for acoustic acts that are willing to play for tips and is considering opening up the June market to child vendors who could sell toys, crafts and collections.
The number of vendors at the first few markets has averaged around 13, but there is room for many more. Longhurst said that ideally the market would have a steady selection of antiques, collectables and refurbished items, but she is also open to vendors selling new and handcrafted items.
Food vendors are also welcome. The April market had a barbecue stand and a dessert table.
“The market is a good place for young entrepreneurs to get feedback on their products or for collectors who only have enough pieces to sell occasionally,” said Longhurst. “But if the items are things you would see at garage sale, that’s not something I’m looking for.”
Katie Reese, who has participated in Lawrence Flea as a vendor selling kitsch household items and figurines, said she enjoys the atmosphere and the location of the flea market. Reese shares a booth at the Antique Mall, 830 Mass. in downtown Lawrence, with her business partner, Mary Bellamy, and said the flea market is a good addition to the local antique scene.
“We have a lot of established antique businesses around here, and if that is something that you are into, then you’ve been to all of those places many times,” said Reese. “This offers something different.”
Reese said the personal interaction among vendors and shoppers at the Lawrence Flea Market makes it both a unique and valuable experience.
“Talking with people and hearing what they are interested in isn’t something we get to do with our booth at the Antique Mall,” said Reese. “Being out in the open with some sunshine on you, and meeting a variety of people makes the flea market special.”
In addition to being a venue and destination for junkers, pickers, rehabbers, artisans and the like, Reese said the market is a viable outing for families or people just looking for something different to do.
“I recommend it to anybody,” said Reese. “It’s a fun thing to do on a Saturday and with the variety there, there could be something there for literally anyone.”
People interested in participating in Lawrence Flea can contact Longhurst at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 785-840-5688.