There were the usual knickknacks and bric-a-brac and some not-so-usual items Sunday at the Mid-America Markets’ flea market in the Kansas Pavilions.
And there were plenty of people looking for a good buy.
“We’ve probably had close to 2,200 shoppers,” said Cameron Masterson, who each month organizes the state’s largest indoor flea market. He said there were 550 booths.
Gas prices and a lingering recession have hurt the flea market business. It’s nowhere near what it was 15 years ago, when there was a waiting line of people wanting to have booths, Masterson said in a phone interview.
But he is beginning to see a steady increase in traffic.
“Some people use it as a form of entertainment,” he said. “You pay $1 to get in. That’s pretty inexpensive to come and look around. I always tell people, you get out here and you don’t realize there was so much stuff you are willing to buy that you didn’t need.”
Crowds have been steadily growing the past year, Masterson said, though attendance Sunday was slightly less than in November.
Paula and Richard Edwards of Halstead said they come regularly to the market to hunt for bargains.
Paula said in an interview that she found some things she could give to her granddaughters — “earrings and things for their hair.”
Richard Edwards bought a discus.
They said they also come for the snacks — roasted nuts covered in sugar and cinnamon.
There are old dishes, parts for old lamps, and jewelry. Lots of jewelry, including original pieces.
On Sunday, Cindy and Derold Becker of Rago were selling metal garden sculptures.
“My husband used to be a home builder, and construction isn’t very good right now,” Cindy Becker said in an interview. So, a year and a half ago they began sculpting artwork from wrenches, rakes and pieces from salvage yards and estate sales.
She puts the pieces together, and he welds them.
The works sells anywhere from $30 for a lady bug made out of compressor lids to $800 for a 6-foot eagle.
“It’s something that we can do together,” Cindy Becker said.