HAZEN, Pa. (EYT) – After a full year shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-known Hazen Flea Market will be reopening on Saturday, May 1.
(Photo courtesy of www.anticuria.com)
“We are really hoping for a knockout flea market season this year,” Chris Clark, Chief of the Warsaw Township Volunteer Fire Company, told CookForest.com.
The Hazen Flea Market has been the Warsaw Township Volunteer Fire Company’s main fundraiser for over 40 years and has also become a staple of the local community.
It began as a one Sunday per month summertime event but then moved to a Saturday and Sunday event in the mid-1990s.
Over the years, the flea market has drawn a wide variety of vendors to the area. However, as with many other events, the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on the flea market in 2020, which created some difficulties for the fire company.
“It pretty much took almost an entire year’s income out of our budget,” Clark said.
“Thank goodness we were still able to do a fund drive, and we got some extra donations from people.”
According to Clark, both local community members and even those outside the area who knew the market was the fire company’s main fundraiser stepped forward to make donations last year.
He noted the company also had some funds set aside “for a rainy day” that came in handy, and they were also able to get some grant funding through some COVID-related grants.
“We usually bring in around $110,000.00 to $120,000.00 per year. That’s not all profit, but still, we missed out on that last year.”
However, with the donations and grant funding they did receive, they were able to make it through the year and are looking forward to opening the market back up on May 1.
“I really anticipate we’ll have more people vendor-wise because people are trying to make an extra buck or make up for lost income. And, we’re hoping for a good crowd of shoppers because a lot of people are itching to get out to do something.”
Clark noted that when they made the decision to start the market back up in May, they reached out to their vendor contact list from last year and sent out registration forms and got a good number of responses, as well as contact from some new vendors.
Unfortunately, they also received word from a few vendors that won’t be returning for various reasons.
“There were even some who had even passed on that we didn’t get to say goodby to,” he noted.
While not all the faces at the market will remain the same, Clark noted that is in many ways in the nature of a flea market. However, between the prior vendors that are returning and the new vendors that have signed up, he said the opening weekend looks about average for vendor participation.
“When it comes down to it, it always depends on the weekend to weekend vendors, and we’re hoping to have a good number of them.”
He also noted that taking a year off from the circuit offered some vendors more of an opportunity to stock up for the coming season.
“We’re hoping to see some new products that people have accumulated over the last year and a half.”
One other change to the flea market this year will be in how the kitchen is run. The large, main kitchen, which is also run by Warsaw Township Volunteer Fire Company, will serve both breakfast and lunch this year, opening up at 6:00 a.m.
The kitchen will no longer have condiments sitting out for people to get themselves. Those purchasing food will be asked what condiments they would like, and the condiments will be packed in a bag with the food and given to the customer to limit touch surfaces and hand-to-hand contact.
“We just ask that people bear with us and be patient with us while we adjust to this new way of doing things.”
The smaller kitchen, located in the lower portion of the flea market area, will not be open this year. According to Clark, the smaller kitchen had been operated by Pine Creek Volunteer Fire Department, and the department opted not to participate this year.
Clark noted that while they are hoping for a good number of vendors and shoppers at the flea market this summer, they also want to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance.
“We want people to stay safe there, so if they want to bring masks and hand sanitizer, we ask that they bring those with them. And of course, if someone is not feeling well, they should stay home.”
The flea market website notes they recommend following CDC and PA Department of Health guidance and encourage anyone attending the flea market to come prepared by bringing their own mask, hand sanitizer, or whatever they feel is needed for their safety. They also ask those in attendance to try to maintain distance as best they can.
This year’s flea market dates are as follows:
– Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2;
– Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6;
– Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4;
– Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1;
– Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5; and
– Saturday, October 2, and Sunday, October 3.
On Saturdays, vendors are open after 7:00 a.m. and usually stay open until mid-afternoon. On Sunday, the vendors begin to open around 7:00 a.m. and begin packing up by 3:00 p.m.
The Flea Market office is open Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. More information is available at hazenflea.com.