The notion behind the newly implemented Davis Flea Market sprung not from the small town in Northern California after which it is named but from across the Atlantic in Ireland.
Lauren Norton arrived in Davis to begin her degree in the UC Davis Master’s Program in Creative Writing with a single suitcase. Norton left an Ireland in a severe economic downturn, because of which flea markets and a variety of hodge-podge shops were abundant. Hoping to find furniture and clothes to fill her apartment from various such venues in Davis, Norton was surprised when she came up empty-handed.
“I thought there was a need that wasn’t quite fulfilled,” said Norton.
The E Street Plaza plays host to the flea market the last Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The setting currently accommodates 26 vendors, each as varied and thrifty as the next.
In addition to vendors, Norton said she wanted to provide a space where local musicians could play while being compensated for their work, the latter Norton says can be quite a rarity.
At one end of the flea market Tha Dirt Feelin provided musical accompaniment to shoppers’ experiences. Marque Cass, a UC Davis community and regional development junior and lead vocalist for the Davis band, affirmed if he had any say in the matter the band would certainly be back for future performances.
“This is spectacular. On par with the [Davis] Farmers Market,” Cass said.
Dr. Andy Jones, UC Davis professor of technocultural studies and writing, seemed to agree with Cass’s statement.
“I think [the flea market] is another terrific opportunity to draw people to Downtown Davis in a community of discovery, cultural consumption and community-building,” Jones said.
Vendors and patrons were comprised of both past and present UC Davis students.
American studies senior Roxanne Calimeris worked behind a booth selling predominately women’s clothing with a few knick-knacks, KDVS CDs and a painted desk thrown in the jumble as well. The clothes seemed highly fashionable and low-priced. An Urban Outfitters trench coat sold for an eighth of its original price, while a leather belt was purchased for 50 cents.
Calimeris said as seniors and graduates, she and her booth mates were looking for a way to leave Davis with a much lighter load.
“It’s almost a purging,” said Calimeris.
On the other side of the market David Sachs and Sarah Bronstein were selling an array of vintage-inspired kitchenware and clothing.
“Sarah’s clothing has definitely been our biggest seller,” Sachs said.
Their table housed white coffee mugs, espresso cups, tea plates and old glass medicine bottles, all selling for around 50 cents. Much of the antique-inspired supply came from the recently closed downtown Blue Elephant Used Furniture store. Both Sachs and Bronstein agreed the turnout was much greater than anticipated and the couple readily replied they would enjoy returning for a second time as vendors.
A brightly colored booth by the entrance to the event donned a sign declaring “Hand Made Crafts by Kids.” It was also home to the market’s youngest vendor, a five-year-old master at crochet. Yelena Ivashchenko, self-proclaimed “mom of the booth,” oversaw a group of six children selling anything from earrings to knitted scarves, all, as the sign proclaimed, handmade by the kids.
Ivanshchenko is a crafter herself, but when she heard about the flea market she thought the opportunity was too good to pass by for her daughters and their friends.
“I said, ‘This is a chance for you guys to make something yourself,’” Ivanshchenko said.
The booth was manned entirely by kids from the group; they sold the items and the adults were present merely for supervision. Ivanshchenko explained that the kids will put the money they have earned toward buying supplies for future crafts projects.
The next Davis Flea Market will be held Feb. 26.
KELLEY REES can be reached at email@example.com.