What is a Flea Market?
A flea market is another name for a swap meet. They are thought of as a type of bazaar and they allow people to sell and also barter an array of merchandise. Cheap prices, local produce and used goods are predominant items found at a flea market. Renters at a flea market are known as vendors and a flea market can be set up in many different locations - indoors, under a tent in a parking lot or in a warehouse.
Depending upon the flea market, it can be an annual, semiannual, monthly, a weekend or even a daily event. A flea market attracted a wide variety of vendors. Some buy items from garage sales and other flea markets to sell. Some vendors are family-run and selling handmade items or just selling their unwanted possessions. A flea market generally has a staff watching the various stalls and vendors.
Flea market vending is different from street vending mainly in the set up and organization. They are sometimes similar to trade shows only not all of the vendors are selling trade goods. A flea market is much more diverse. It is possible to find impressive high-quality items at a flea market for a cheap price alongside low-quality items for equally cheap.
Other Names for a Flea Market
Flea markets have a variety of regional names in addition to swap meet. They are also sometimes called trash and treasure markets, car boot sales, jumble sales or bring and buy sales.
The origin of the name flea market is still up for debate. It may have come from associations with the Fly Market in the 1700s in New York City. At the time the Fly Market was the largest and busiest in the city. The Fly Market was named for the presence of flies due to the area once being a marsh.
Another theory regarding the term flea market is that it came from "marché aux puces," which literally translates from French to "market where one acquires fleas." There was a market in Paris in the 1860s that was referred to as such and it shared some similar features of today's flea markets. A lot of vendors at the Paris bazaar sold furniture, which was known for being infested by fleas. The fleas also infested clothing and were often taken home by patrons.
The History of Flea Markets
The first American flea market took place every Monday in Canton, Texas starting in 1873. The event was first known as Monday Trade Days and started as a place to buy and sell horses, but soon people began selling their other goods to sell and trade as well. The idea spread. Today's modern flea market is sometimes credited to Russell Carrell, a man who organized antique shows. Similar temporary markets set up under tents and then taken down have existed around the world for centuries as seasonal events and they are still popular today. The existence of a weekend flea market has been a tradition in many Asian countries for thousands of years.