Sales Outlet

Sales Outlet

On a sunny Saturday morning, three reasons to attend the weekly Bethany Lions Club Flea Market quickly became apparent: the buying, the selling and the chatting.

On the grassy expanse of Bethany Airport, which closed in 1965 and is now a public space, I walked down orderly rows of tables, booths and tarps laden with handicrafts or cowboy boots or tie-dyed shirts or record players and LPs. At one table, a few people were looking at the detailed diagrammed instructions that came with an Erector Set. “You’d have to be one smart kid” to figure those out, one of them commented.

While many folks seemed to be looking for items useful in daily life—pots, dishware, jackets, bicycles, toys—I found myself piqued by antiques or handcrafted items, like Linda Trumbly’s lace ornaments. Available in a variety of colors, the ornaments featured horses, birds, angels, candles, hearts and more seasonal designs like sleighs.

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Nearby, first-time vendor Colby Telep offered up the results of a passion he’s had time to pursue during the pandemic: refurbished golf clubs. Depending on the initial state of the club, he might clean it, add a new grip, grind it or re-plate it. “Since the pandemic, golf’s exploded” he said near his gleaming clubs. “And to buy brand-new is expensive.”

Another vendor, whose colorful mugs and stack of 1940s sheet music caught my attention, said he’s “been coming here since day one.” Each week for the past 12 years or so, he’s brought a truckload of stuff from his deceased in-laws, “who lived through the depression and never threw anything away.” To his surprise, “the odder” something is, “the better it will sell”—for instance, 1940s chainsaw chains.

Moving on, I admired some cameras, including an elegant Depression-era mint chocolate Kodak Petite, which was designed to be marketed to women and, according to the vendor, still works. In contrast was “blingtastic” Paparazzi jewelry offered by Kim Allen, whose cheer and $5 price tags drew a steady stream of shoppers.

According to incoming Bethany Lions Club president Clark Hurlburt, 42 vendors offered wares that morning. While admission and parking is free, the Lions charge $10 per week to set up shop. All the money is given back to the community; this school year, $11,000 in scholarships was awarded to Bethany high school students, including funds raised through the flea market vendor fees.

Before heading back to my car, I stopped by an arrangement of long and short axes spread across some tarps. The handles were smooth to the touch and some looked hand-carved. The vendor, Harry Zarkos, reported that he has axes in every room of his house and was culling his collection. A former employee of the Vermont Paper Company, he used to “limb trees with an axe,” describing the way draft horses and chains were then used to drag felled trees out of the forest. “There’s a lot of history in axes,” he said. “They built our country.”

And if you could use a little more country in your own life, the Bethany Flea Market is a good place to find it.

Bethany Lions Club Flea Market
Bethany Airport – 695 Amity Road (map)
Sat 7am-1pm thru 10/27

Written and photographed by Heather Jessen.

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