Posts Tagged ‘flea markets’

Trish and I have a thing for open markets. We’ve visited them all over the world, from folksy parking lot affairs in Finland, the famous Chatachak Market in Bangkok to what is probably the largest open air weekend market on the planet. The cooler fall weather has brought an enormous number of people out to sell their household overflow and sideline business items. Today there are over 4000 vendors on the massive site over one square mile at Traders Village, Grand Prairie Texas…..located about 14 miles outside Dallas. You really have to wear comfortable shoes for this adventure.

Everything from used clothing and toys to tires, mattresses,  Santeria magic concoctions  and live animals are for sale somewhere on the site. This is a primarily Mexican influenced market. People assume you speak Spanish if you’re here. The atmosphere is friendly, familial and raucous. Music blasts from car stereos and DJ bars for sale almost every ten feet. The isles are crowded with children in strollers as the average family appears to have at least six children per unit. Young moms all have a second baby muffin top spilling over their jeans.

If I was to guess I would say that there was at least 350,000 to 500,000 people at the peak of the afternoon . Unlike many city markets most goods are $1.00. I wonder who would buy so many used children’s clothing items and junk stereo equipment but it’s obvious people are packing items into trolly carts and winding through the crowds towards a vehicle. Tools of every kind can be had here…if you want saws , wrenches or landscaping equipment , this is the place to come. If you want to see the Mexican American influence in Texas you simply have to come here.

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Where do you find the real Texan culture? Shopping malls are ubiquitous, sports centers like Cowboy Center and Ranger Stadium are magnets for tourists. There is no doubt that Six Flags Over Texas amusement park is spectacular. So where do the Texans, who have been to all of the above spend their free time? What we have discovered is that Texans love open markets, traders villages, flea markets and the cavernous street side bazaars housing hundreds of vendors, some with themes..like Harry Hines Bazaar or Latina where the goods and food courts are primarily Mexican , to Sam Moons Wholesale style strip mall where international is the name of the game. Ask around, these are everywhere….and cheap….don’t get me started.

A lot of open markets are calendar and weather dependent…but be at the right place on a good day and you’ll have thousands of vendors show up and a variety of goods to shuttle through that has no comparison anywhere in the world. There are also plenty of indoor markets, so don’t fret if the sunshine isn’t perfect, although Texas weather is usually pretty good…especially if I compare it to Canada….winter in Dallas is better than summer in Vancouver..hands down.

Its in the markets that you’ll meet the real Texan, good hearted , sweet, open and honest. The culture of open markets began 200 years ago when centers were located that people could bring their trade goods to from the far flung farms and ranches and the isolated communities that pepper this huge state. The market vibe is as alive today as it was back then. The history is fantastic, the people willing to take the time to talk about it. Trisha and I spend our weekends traveling from one market to the next….never running out of towns to visit and trails to follow. My favorite open markets so far has been the Canton First Monday Market…McKinney Second Monday Market, Waxahachi and Traders Village in Grand Prairie west of Arlington.

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