You had to know I was going to respond. In regards to thinking there are too many [Upper Darby High School flea markets], I disagree. If they were spaced out to two-a-month for the April-June (6 dates) & September-November (6 dates), in actuality, we have nine dates a year. So, we are low on the annual amount if you consider the above analysis of twice a month for the six-month period. If you look at Columbus, Bucks County Technology Park, and New Castle Farmers Market, they have their flea markets every week. And when Cottman Ave & Philly Park was around, the same each week, (Oh, how I miss those two.)
We [Upper Darby High School flea markets] have been okay for the past 25 years when the organizer handles it correctly, which isn’t always the case. On having the same vendors, yes we have a lot of repeats, I am one of them and yes in the same spot each time, that is so the repeat customer can find us easily. I have many parents say “Little Johnny knows exactly where you are and can’t wait to get to you.” On having the same merchandise market after market, I churn my merchandise so quickly that I always have new coming in each time and admittedly mixed in the carryover.
Part of the issue with the scheduling of these markets, from what I have gathered from organizers, is that the Upper Darby Recreation Department assigns the dates, with the organizers’ choice of having it on the first date or on their rain date and therefore not having a rain date. The organizations have always picked the first date so they can have the rain date (as a rain date is important, as you can see Town Talk has now added to each of their events where they did not have them until the issue with Sandy last year. (Thank you [Philadelphia] Flea Market News). Also, the schedule [at Upper Darby High School] is coordinated around other school events, which created an issue this month of having flea markets in two consecutive weeks. We’ll see how that goes. We do seem to have them spread out to once a month for the most part this spring with April 7, April 14, May 19, June 23. Then, if the Football Boosters can get their act together, most likely August when summer stage has ended.
With having so many different groups, it is hard to have one calendar of events unless the Upper Darby Recreation department or the Upper Darby Township choose to post the schedule on their website. Westtown Township does it this way. In addressing the Admin, I’m not sure how the Upper Darby rec dept. can only have info for a few weeks in advance since, from what I have been told, they create the schedule. Unless the recreation department director is the only one who knows the full schedule. I know last year when I got the fall application for the CMA, they already had their spring 2013 date listed. So these appear to be planned in advance.
Trying to get them to work as one is a good idea, however, it might be like trying to get politicians to agree. I know Town Talk took over coordination for the Optimist Club which runs a flea market at Delaware County Community College. Not sure if they took over for any other groups. On your suggestion of Saturday, in DELCO, Saturday is death to flea markets. To my knowledge, there is only one Saturday market that thrives and that is Princeton Presbyterian which is on Baltimore Pike in Springfield. They hold one in June and one in October. The other little engine that could is Interboro High School which can’t seem to get the vendors but keeps on trying Saturday (not sure of customer turn out). The Boy Scouts hold one in Ridley on Saturday and I have never seen huge crowds whenever I’ve gone.. A couple of years ago, Town Talk attempted one on Saturday. I think they did it twice and they don’t do it anymore. It had about 1/4 of the vendors and shopper turnout was abysmal.
Out here in the “burbs” Saturday is YARD SALE day, if you look on Craigslist mid-April to early June and again Sept and Oct, it is lit up like a Christmas tree with yard sales on Saturdays in each of the Delaware County Towns. Some of these sales are town-wide or even borough-wide. Also, the school has many functions and events that take place on Saturdays plus, when the flea markets run, one lane on each side of Lansdowne Avenue is used for parking. This seems to work best on Sundays, as there is less traffic than on a Saturday. You should see Lansdowne Avenue at the school on July 4th for fireworks. Don’t go near it in a car.
Ah, 1985! I remember it well. The year I graduated high school and started my trek into the wonderful world of flea marketing.
Rob Hughes is an experienced flea market vendor and a resident of Upper Darby, PA.