If you mingled with the crowd of 4,700 people attending the Finney County Historical Museum’s Flea Market Festival last summer, you have a pretty fair idea of what to expect when we host the 2018 festival of antiques, collectibles, art and crafts on July 14.

The gathering offers:

• A day inside Lee Richardson Zoo with friends and neighbors;

• a chance to browse among booths set up by approximately five dozen vendors from all over central and western Kansas;

• Several types of take-home and ready-to-eat treats and beverages;

• A giant sale of gently-used merchandise spread across the museum’s outdoor patio and indoor meeting room.

In addition to the festival, which is supported by the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the same day will bring the Jungle Run auto show, an array of cars, trucks and motorcycles on the West Green of the zoo, hosted by the Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo.


One of many opportunities

The festival is really just one of many summer season opportunities available at the museum, however. So we hope you’ll also put the following opportunities on your to-do list for June, July and August.

• Summer exhibits — We’ve extended our visitor hours for the season, so you can take in museum displays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, plus 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. You’ll find more than a dozen long-term and changing exhibits about local and regional history, and admission is always free.

• True Crime — Our newest exhibit is titled “True Crime, Solving Notorious Cases from Finney County’s History.” It opened a few months ago, featuring evidence used in bringing justice after the crime spree of the Fleagle Gang in the 1920s, as well as the tragic murder of four members of the Clutter family in 1959. So far, thousands of people have come in to learn about both cases.

• Souvenir shopping. The museum’s gift shop, open concurrently with exhibits, features gifts, goods, books, toys, videos and souvenirs linked to local history and culture. We also carry hand-crafted items created by southwest Kansas artists and artisans, plus plenty of Sunflower State memorabilia.

• Historic house. The 1884 William Fulton House is now open for free tours from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays all summer. Located southwest of the museum in the zoo, the Folk Victorian house was built 134 years ago by one of Garden City’s co-founders. You’ll find period furniture inside and surrounding gardens dedicated to the builder’s wife, Lettie, whose flowers inspired our community’s name. Hosts Abel Loza and Rachael Wedel will be on hand each Saturday and Sunday except July 14.


Flea Market Festival

The Flea Market Festival July 14 is the museum’s biggest event of the year, however. Public admission is free, and the event runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with access through the zoo entry arches.

Bazaars, craft shows and flea markets come and go, but the museum’s gathering is taking place for the ninth consecutive year. We already have vendors signed up to bring antiques of all descriptions, not to mention an uncounted number of collectibles; aprons, bags and purses; baked treats; crocheted items; enamelware; essential oils; doors, windows and related architectural finds; furniture, including antique pieces; handcrafts and artwork; household goods; jams and jellies; jewelry ranging from pendants and chains to earrings and bracelets; quilts and quilted hangings; rustic and recycled objects; scarves; sculpted steel items of all sizes, probably including a dinosaur or two; signs on weathered wood; skin care and pain relief products; soaps, lotions and additional personal care items; wine bottle wind chimes and lights.

In addition, we’re expecting licensed products ranging from Avon and Thirty-One to Tupperware and Younique.

Right now, we’re still accepting booth reservations, but registration is limited to 65 in order to preserve the quality of the show, so it’s important to act quickly. You can stop by the museum 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday to pick up a vendor registration packet. Our number is (620) 272-3664.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in donating good used items for the patio sale can still call or stop by the museum. Donations should be clean, functional and in good condition. Almost any flea market or garage sale items are welcome, with the exception of clothing, books, shoes or older-style televisions.

We hope you’ll come in to see the museum’s exhibits this summer, devote some time to our gift store, pay a visit to the Fulton House, and set aside July 14 for a few hours of shopping at the Flea Market Festival. All of the above supports the museum’s displays, education program, artifact conservation and research services, so there’s no time like the present to join in preserving the past.


Steve Quakenbush is the executive director of the Finney County Historical Society.