Jade Neilson browsed through the various vendors and booths on Saturday that were stationed in Lee Richardson Zoo as part of the Finney County Historical Society’s Ninth Annual Flea Market Festival of Antiques, Collectibles, Art and Crafts. She was looking for something, but wasn’t sure what that something was.
“I just moved into a new apartment, so I’m looking for stuff to decorate it,” said Neilson, who came up for the event from Oklahoma. “I’m just here to see what is offered and what I think is cute. … I watch a lot of HGTV, so I see what some other people are doing to decorate. … I’ve always wanted to decorate my own place with refinished or rustic-looking stuff, so I thought I’d check out this show.”
Neilson said she was looking for more of the refinished wood type of pieces or decorations, but was having a difficult time deciding what to purchase.
“There’s just so much to pick from. This is going to be dangerous for my bank account because I’m probably going to buy more than I need or stuff I don’t need,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve got my eye on some end tables here, so I may just get those and call it a day.”
Neilson was just one of hundreds of people who attended Saturday’s flea market.
Steve Quakenbush, executive director of the Finney County Historical Museum, said 59 vendors were set up for the event.
“They are from roughly 20 different towns in Kansas,” Quakenbush said, noting that some were local vendors, as well. “We have some from Wichita, Hutchinson, Great Bend, Salina, Pratt, Liberal and Colby. They’ve come from at least two-thirds of Kansas to spend the day in the park and the zoo and support the museum. We’re real pleased with the turnout.”
Items available Saturday included antiques and collectibles, baked goods, clothes, clothing accessories, quilted and crocheted items, essential oils, wooden creations, furniture, handcrafts and art, household goods, rustic and recycled objects, sculpted steel, signs, skin care products, new and vintage toys, crystals, books, yard art, plants and more.
Quakenbush said people oftentimes attend the festival looking for garage sale bargains, arts and crafts and food.
“It seems like each year we get new or interesting crafts that we haven’t had,” he said. “One example is we have a couple from Wichita, and their business name is ‘Travelers from the Andes,’ and they have Central and South American artifacts that they’re sharing. We also have a vendor here this year who has high quality reproductions of photographs and newspapers from the Civil War era.”
The museum’s patio also had a collection of various gently used items that have been donated to the museum for the sale over the last year.
"It’s dishes, cookware, games and more,” Quakenbush said of the patio items. “It’s fun every year to see what’s coming in because it’s different every year.”
The event typically raises $5,000 to $7,000, according to Quakenbush.
“All of this basically helps support the museum,” Quakenbush said. “Not just exhibits, but all of our programs, including education, research and preservation of artifacts. But if we need to raise funds, we might as well have fun doing it.”
Quakenbush said local residents, as well as people from surrounding states, attend the flea market each year. Last year, the flea market had 4,700 to 4,800 guests.
“I’m hoping to equal that,” Quakenbush said for this year’s event. “The good thing about Garden City is there’s always something going on. Will there be conflicting events or schedules? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No. We’re glad to be a part of a community where there are a lot of things going on, even if they are going on simultaneously.”
Quakenbush said there were people who came over from the Big Pool, where a swim meet was being held over the weekend. Dane Crawford was one of them.
“I was watching my niece compete and came over here to take kind of a break from the meet,” he said. “There’s a lot of booths and stuff. It seems like a neat event.”
Crawford said it was his first time attending the flea market, noting that if he is in the area again next year, he would attend it again.
“I bought me some strawberry jalepeno jam, and I’ve just been looking at some of the other booths to see what they have,” Crawford said, referencing the Farm Shed Goods II booth. “I came here really just to kill some time. I didn’t think I would end up buying anything.”
Deb Anell of Iuka, who operates Farm Shed Goods II, a second generation family business, said in a press release from the museum that the historical museum flea market was one of her favorite shows. Her business was selling pickled items, salsa, jelly, jam and preserves.
“It’s great to go to Garden City, and I come every year,” Anell said in the release.
Linda Hinde, who shared a double booth of antiques and collectibles with fellow Garden City resident Joanna Meier, said the festival gets bigger and better every year.
“We’ve been with it since it began nine years ago, and it’s a great day for the vendors and for the customers,” Hinde said. “The variety has really increased…There’s something for everyone.”
Luz Fernandez moved to Garden City in May from Liberal. She initially planned to go to Lee Richardson Zoo for a walk, but wondered why the parking lot was full.
“I didn’t know this was going on… I haven’t been to something like this before. There’s a lot of people for it being hot outside,” Fernandez said, after purchasing a lemonade from one of the booths. “There’s not much to do where I’m from, so it's cool to see events going on like this.”
Contact Josh Harbour at firstname.lastname@example.org