Eclectic mix found at flea market

By: 
Samantha Christian

Photo by Samantha Christian. Traci and Josh Mandell sort through old records at the Fitchburg Flea Market on Sunday while talking to vendor Victor Rasmussen, not pictured.

If you go
What: Fitchburg Flea Market
When: 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays through October, weather-permitting
Schedule change: 6-10 a.m. July 13; no flea market July 20
Where: McGaw Park, 5236 Lacy Road
Cost: Free admission and parking
Info: 271-6944 or 335-2045

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When Ed Oakey turns into McGaw Park in his red pickup truck Sunday mornings, he’s never really sure what he’ll find among the eclectic mix of treasures displayed in the upper parking lot.

As the organizer of the Fitchburg Flea Market, Oakey said there is “a good assortment” of vintage collectibles, repurposed items, furniture, crafts, jewelry and yard art.

He has seen a steady improvement in both public attendance and vendor participation since the market’s start in late April, but he is hoping for more.

Although vendors do not have to call ahead of time to confirm whether they are coming, he said about 20 vendors show up Sundays.

The vendor cost is $15 each week, and everyone is encouraged to come.  

“We have very nice vendors, and many are repeat,” said Carol Oakey. “The idea is anyone can bring anything they want.”

There are a few exceptions, however, including no sales of guns, pornography, animals, alcohol or food unless a health permit is presented.

Ed Oakey said he’s hoping to get more people who sell produce to come to the market, especially for the fall harvest before Halloween.

“It’s a nice park and nice people,” said Verona vendor Victor Rasmussen, who is always adding to his album and cassette collection.

However, he noted not many people show up before 9 a.m.

Ed Oakey also said many bikers also ride through the market and, upon spotting a good find, will return later with a vehicle.

“There’s a late crowd after 8:30 — the church crowd,” he said.

Dennis Wieczorek of Brooklyn, who often displays chairs and golf equipment, said not all vendors show up at 6 a.m. or stay until 1 p.m., which can cause some people to just pass on by without stopping.

The recent rainy weather and area road construction were also cited as possible factors for fluctuating attendance.

Since the flea market is just getting off the ground and working around the current park schedule, “we will figure out what works,” said Carol. “Not everyone knows about us yet.”

What she does know is her husband’s passion for flea markets.

“Ed has been going to these things his whole life. He’s been collecting for years. He likes the camaraderie – going around chatting with people,” said Carol.

For information, call Ed Oakey at 271-6944 or 335-2045.

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