FRIENDSHIP, INDIANA A cast iron cat doorstop from 1890, a campaign button for John F. Kennedy, valentines from the 1930s, and many other interesting items are available at the Friendship Flea Market in Friendship, Indiana.
While shopping for unique finds might seem like a treasure hunt or a way to save money, it is also beneficial to the environment.
“It’s like recycling, taking something someone already had instead of spending all of this pointless money,” said Jordan Gardner, 23, who grew up attending the flea market and now lives in Madison. “You’re not wasting anything.”
The Friendship Flea Market has been held for the past 51 years twice a year, in June and September. Each market runs for nine days and has space for 500 vendors winding around the banks of the Laughery Creek just off Main Street.
“Too many books are just ending up in landfills. So, recycling books, keeping that tradition alive, I enjoy doing it,” said bookseller Harold Touch, who has been a vendor at the flea market for 18 years. He said he likes helping people find what they need or enjoy doing.
“It’s especially fun watching the kids get excited,” he said.
The second-hand economy has been around and thriving for years. However, more people are thinking about environmental cost and how ethically products are made.
It also gives the buyer a chance to find something unique or repurpose an existing item.
“I look for something that you can make your own,” said Charlsee Aldridge,23, who was attending the market for the first time. “I like to bring new life into old things.”
The second-hand economy is also good for building relationships and keeping money in the local community.
Friendship Flea Market owner Gary Stemler said what he enjoys most about the flea market is the people.
“You meet someone new every day, people from every state,” he said. “We now have friends all over the country.”
Buying used can also be fun. With items arriving daily at local thrift shops and flea markets, there is a thrill-of-the-hunt element as well.
“Everything you find here someone has used or someone has made, and it’s just a lot more valuable, I think, than something you’ll find at a store and you’ll find 10 others like it,” Gardner said.
The next Friendship Flea Market is Sept. 8-16. For additional information about the Flea please go to slc2010.com/jflea