I visit a lot of flea markets and I like to share the experience as often as I can.
Flea markets in our part of the world can happen any day of the week. We have a few favorites that we go to over the weekends and a good flea market for Mondays, but the middle of the week has been empty.
Our retired Marine neighbor who knows just about everything about everything had been telling us about a flea market on Wednesdays for a few months. He never told us the name though and we never asked.
On a recent Tuesday night I was searching for North Central Florida Flea Markets that would be a nice short drive away. I came across one called Stokes located in Lecanto, Florida, which is only 25 minutes from us. I did not mis-spell the word, it really is called Stokes. Not strokes, but Stokes. I think Strokes would be a very different kind of place altogether.
Stokes advertises that is open to the public at 8am. We learned months ago that people wake up late here in Florida. Early is 10am. Even for vendors. So we got there at 8am. Back in Maryland, when a Flea Market opens at 8am, you need to be there by 6:30 to get the good stuff. There were almost no shoppers when we arrived and it made it so easy for us to traverse the aisles.
The weather was incredible. We were going through a nice hot spell (84 degrees) for a January. The sky was overcast but the sun was quickly burning off the cloud cover. By the time we left we had shed extra layers.
Parking was good when we got there at 8. When we left, vehicles were lined up out on the highway waiting for a parking spot. This was due to the sheer volume. There were a few out of towners who were being impatient but we just waited a bit to ease our way to the exit.
We only saw two food vendors. One was the actual restaurant by the office. The other was a food truck vendor advertising mini-donuts. They looked and smelled so good but we were on a mission and sticky fingers and sugar can slow you down.
We only saw the one restroom sign and it was by the restaurant and office.
There were 300 spaces under cover and 200 spaces in the field.
We saw everything from window frames to vintage lunch boxes, guns and ammunition, puppies for sale, old cowboy boots, cookware from many prior decades, new stuff and old. In terms of quality, there were by far, more older quality items than at other flea markets.
My husband bought about 20 belt buckles. He sells them on eBay so check out his store why don’t you. Just look up belt buckles.
I found a few bead vendors. Damian (who sells under the sun out in the field) sells glass, bone, crystal, and stone beads. “No plastic here!” he repeated to every potential buyer. He has been selling beads at flea markets for 30 years.
I got these lovely strands. The small disks are czech glass. The copper strands are just heavy and solid.
I turned down buying from a vendor with some amazing turquoise and graduated garnet strands. She was chain smoking and her product smelled as a result. I found this odd as you rarely see vendors smoking at all.
Under one of the covered pavilians, I got this little pile of chain for $3. The copper link bracelet will be broken down into about 100 copper jump rings.
As you have seen by my Bead Closet, I cannot turn down a good vintage drawer. They are perfect for beading. We scored this drawer and this shelving unit (to be hung on a wall) for a bargain.
Finally, the most fun booth was the one where they had brooches galore. This pile of goodies was simply too inexpensive for me to tell you the price. You might go buy her out.
Prices were negotiable at almost all of the booths. Vendors were willing to bargain and tell you about their products.
I managed to score a Jeweler’s Magnifying Glass finally! I have been looking for a long time and refused to buy one new.
A few more of my finds.
If you are in Central Florida, add this to your destination list.