By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)
Fairfield, CT – They searched through boxes, combed through crates and held things up to the light, seeking a must-have item, unique treasure or bargain buy.
Locals flocked to Fairfield Warde High School’s monthly flea market, set up in the parking lot at 755 Melville Avenue first thing Sunday morning, to browse the displays of over 60 vendors that had trekked their items in from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and near and far reaches of Connecticut. Held every third Sunday of the month, April through October, the event offers a mix of used and new items, antiques, household goods, jewelry, books, collectables and even fresh fruit and hot dogs. Revenue from the rental of vendor spaces, which go for a very reasonable $25 a pop, goes to supporting Warde sports teams, school trips, scholarships and class equipment. On average, about $10,000 is raised every summer.
“This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the school,” said Dulce Rabines, co-chair of Warde’s PTA Fundraising group, along with Linda Bernstein. “Because we have to reserve the space a year in advance, if there’s a rainout, there’s no reschedule.”
Overall, Rabines said there are very good bargains to be found and that the event is worthwhile. “There are many interesting things and it’s a great way to support the school.”
Al of “Good Stuff Cheap”, a vendor that has supported the event since it was first conducted five years ago, would agree with that assessment. “Parents here really volunteer to help the kids, the people that run the event are super and the customers are excellent.”
Another vendor, Jerri Wiley of Monroe, selling jewelry, records, kitchen items and crafts, said she has participated in the sale for the past three years. “I get to talk to a lot of people, which is interesting, get out in the fresh air and see what everybody else has,” she said. “It’s a nice way to spend a day, especially when it’s gorgeous like this morning.”
Looking at some New York Yankees memorabilia spread out on one vendor’s tarp, Fairfielder Sam Hunt said, “I like to walk around and see what strikes my eye – crazy Christmas items, joke gifts for stockings… It’s a good place to find that kind of thing.”
Fellow Fairfielder Fred Zweibaum, who was studying a set of unique windchimes, remarked, “I come out to look for offbeat antique stuff or tools. You always hope someone will misprice things.”
Like a busy bee visiting flowers, Trumbull resident Evelyn Kleemichen buzzed from display to display. “I’ve been coming here for five years,” she said. “I look for jewelry or things I need that I don’t want to pay full price for. There’s always an odd item that’s needed. This is a great money saver. I love it.”
Ken Blass, of Shelton, was crouched and turning a Styrofoam buoy over in his hands. “I look at everything,” he said. “There’s a good selection here and it’s fun to just walk around.”
Fairfielder Siobhan Keehan couldn’t wait to get to the sale. “I rolled right out of bed right to the flea market,” she said. “I was really looking forward to it. I saw it advertised a couple of days ago and made it my Sunday morning plan. I’m hoping to find something unique.”
Black Rocker Lindsey Herod’s interests were business-oriented. “I’m an interior designer and always hit up these types of sales whenever they’re around,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to find – there might be a gem.”
For shoppers plum tuckered out by all the browsing, vendor Kevin Albano, of Trumbull, was on hand with succulent fresh fruit. “This is a good venue for my fruit because you’re in an area that’s a little more affluent than others,” he said. “People are willing to spend a little more. You make friends and acquaintances at the same time. It’s a nice little social event.”
To inquire about renting a space at the Warde Flea Market, call Linda Berstein at 203-258-6978 or Dulce Rabines at 203-258-7497. You can also reach the organizers by email: firstname.lastname@example.org