We have no way of knowing if there is a flea market in America that has been around longer, but we would sure be surprised if there is a bigger market of this type anywhere in America. Or the world, for that matter.
To our eyes, First Monday's is like a sprawling world's fair of a flea market.
From our Eyes on Texas webpage about Canton First Monday Trade Days....
Since 1850 in a town in East Texas called Canton an event called First Mondays has held Thursday through Sunday prior to the First Monday of each month.
First Monday's has grown from an event for farmers to market their wares to an event where armies of vendors sell a huge variety of items to thousands of shoppers in a shopping zone sprawling over hundreds of acres.
On our Eyes on Texas webpage about Canton First Monday Trade Days you will see a couple dozen photos giving you a good idea of what you will see there, including what you might find to eat there.
On our Eyes on Texas webpage about the town of Canton you will find information about where to stay and where to eat during your visit to Canton.
Wikipedia has a good article with a lot of good information about Canton First Monday Trade Days including the following...
Some advice for new visitors:
- Try to visit on a Thursday or Friday since crowds are slightly lower and selection is best.
- Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons to visit.
- If you see it and love it, buy it. Don't take the chance on it being there when you return. Being new, you may not find the same booth again. It is easy to get turned around.
- Plan at least 5 hours to make even a cursory "run-through" of the area. Serious shoppers will need 8 hours to 3 days to cover the entire grounds.
- Bargain with the vendors. Even in the more established sections you can never tell who will say yes.
- Take a magnifier and small magnet. They'll come in handy for examining condition and identifying "brass" or "bronze" that is really steel.
- Wear comfortable shoes all the time and clothing appropriate for the season. Almost year 'round—wear sunscreen.
- If you don't know about an expensive collectible, be wary. Fakes and overpricing exist but knowing something about the item can prevent a bad purchase.
- Remember where you park. Even small purchases get heavy when carried over time and distance. You'll want to drop items off in the trunk.
That remembering where you parked advice is very good advice. We had ourselves a major adventure re-locating our vehicle after hours of wandering around First Mondays.
The Wikipedia article also said the following...
Despite the large size of the facility, people with disabilities will find easy access, and can even rent a scooter to get around the market area with ease. Be aware however that extremely hot weather can make a big difference in ability to get around.
A couple months ago a man named Gary emailed us regarding incidents where people with disabilities did not find easy access at First Mondays, quite the contrary.
We blogged about what Gary had to tell us on our Durango Texas blog in a blogging titled Apparently Canton First Mondays Is Violating The Americans With Disabilities Act In Texas. You can click the link to the Durango Texas blog to read all of what Gary had to tell us, part of which is below...
Although First Mondays rents scooters, there are places where they are not allowed, Old Mill itself has a sign saying Foot Traffic Only! As does The Mountain. This has been a huge concern for the ADA and the disabled / handicapped community. There are no signs saying no scooters allowed, just foot traffic only signs. Last month a disabled 14 year girl with her scooter and her parents were removed and the police called, apparently Canton's police are not familiar with the laws that protect the disabled and handicapped. I can just picture how dramatic this was for that child. A few months before that there was another incident involving their supposed security guard and a senior man on his mobility scooter, carrying a blue disabled plaque, who was repeatedly told "His kind wasn't welcome". I have heard this type of complaint before, but I think this one regarding the child stepped over the line.
We hope this type incident has not happened often, and that measures have been taken to make sure such incidents don't happen in the future, because to our eyes, Canton First Monday Trade Days is a very happy place where a lot of people seem to have themselves a mighty fine time....