A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

The Veterans Memorial Building Flea Market is back

John Greenwood
So many items, so little time. Who knows what treasures may be had with a little time spent sifting through at the Santa Rosa Veterans Flea Market.

As an avid supporter of the Veterans Memorial Building Flea Market in Santa Rosa for over 10 years, I was saddened to see it become one of the many local casualties of the COVID-19 shutdown. It never really recovered in the pandemic’s aftermath. When bans and mandates were finally lifted, it seemed mired in a myriad of political, financial and locational situations which saw it move to a Santa Rosa Avenue location and subsequently onto the old Kmart parking lot. Which appeared to be a great venue until a reported dispute with local business owners in the area had the “flea” moving back to Santa Rosa Avenue. Unfortunately, that location always felt too small for the number of stall holders and had inadequate visitor parking.

So it is with great glee that I am again seeing this once highlight of the weekend restored to its premier location: at the Veterans Building on 1351 Maple Ave. in Santa Rosa. Although the market now has a new operator, Taylor Trades. The original MoJo’s Flea Markets still occurs at a Santa Rosa Avenue parking lot. But for all intents and purposes, the flea market is back at the Vets building.

So far, stallholders are at a different volume than they once were. This could be the result of higher stall prices or it could just be that people are slow to hear the news that the flea is back. I pointed out to the new operators that they might want to consider lowering the prices for sellers’ fees to get the “once-in-a-while semi-regular sellers” like myself, who once made up the bulk of the stalls, back in the mix. But regardless of that outcome I am still ecstatic to see this event back on the calendar and will support it in any way as best I can.

It is free to the general public and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, or morning if you are an early riser, as it opens at 7 a.m.

Conversation, exercise, fresh air and sunshine may be a great bargain at the veteran’s flea market. (John Greenwood)

It is so much fun sifting through endless boxes of treasures from yesteryear. An unidentifiable object dug out of a box will often start an interesting conversation about what it did or what it could be used for, with anybody within earshot joining the conversation. Also, unearthing that instantly recognizable once-very-familiar item from your youth that you have not seen in the last 20, 30, or 40 years, creates the feeling of having just found an old friend. The flea is the perfect place to simply find your latest restoration venture or something your imagination can repurpose into an art project.

The list is endless, depending on what strangers decided to clear out of their attics or their father’s sheds and brought to the market to sell. Even if you come away with absolutely nothing — which I would defy you to do, as prices can go as low as 50 cents or  $1, and now and then things are free — it’s still good, cheap entertainment. What’s more, it gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine and usually provides you with something to stimulate your mind, as well as keeping items that can still be of use or repurposed out of our landfills.

On more than one occasion this flea market has been my savior and produced that hard-to-find tool or part I needed for a project I had put on hold because I could not find it on Amazon anymore as it had become obsolete. If you are patient enough and prepared to wait around long enough and dig through enough boxes, sooner or later the thing you are looking for will show up at this flea market.

I implore you to support your local flea market. It is a thing of beauty and a vibrant part of our local community, which needs a bit of help kickstarting itself right now.

A colorful array of alebrijes, Mexican folk art sculptures, are on display at the veteran’s flea market on April 7, 2024. (John Greenwood)
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About the Contributor
John Greenwood
John Greenwood, Reporter
John is in his first semester at the Oakleaf and J1. He is also studying J59 photojournalism. He has a keen interest in alternative music, live shows and film. He loves travel and travel stories, and has a strong affiliation and lifetime involvement with all forms of short circuit Stock Car Racing and Demolition Derby, as well as interests in various other contact sports.

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