When the Grafton Flea Market reopens for the season this Sunday, owner Michael Peters is expecting 100 confirmed vendors and perhaps more who show up unannounced. They’ll be selling the typical vinyl records, T-shirts, tchotchkes, veggies — ”almost anything,” he said — spaced under the shade of the tall pine trees and out in the sun on the pavement.
The flea market, located on the Upton-Grafton town line, was open last year, but Peters said vendor attendance will be bigger this time around. “Last year a lot of senior citizens pulled out because of COVID-19,” he said. “But as people get vaccines, I’m getting more calls from people saying they’re coming back.”
Like other flea markets around the state, Grafton’s will be following several protocols to guard against the spread of the coronavirus. Shoppers and vendors are required to wear masks, maintain social distance, and sanitize their hands. Some flea markets are also employing signs that tell customers which direction to walk and where to stand.
On April 4, Hubbardston’s Rietta Flea Market (known as Rietta Ranch, to longtime attendees) welcomed customers back. The outside space can hold up to 500 vendors and a barn provides room for 40 to 50 more at this market founded in 1966. You might find books, DVDs, chainsaws, clothing, furniture, jewelry, plants, produce and other items at this “comfortably huge” market, according to the website.
Property manager Raelene Williams said that her customers’ faithful attendance has softened the financial blow the pandemic dealt to businesses everywhere. It’s their support that makes her confident in the success of their reopening.
At the 45-year-old Raynham Flea Market, located at the intersection of Routes 24 and 44 West, some vendors load into the 70,000 square-foot-building — where ultraviolet-C “germicidal” lighting has been installed — and others set up shop in the parking lot. Trucks, vans, and small trailers park around the structure and sell their goods out of their vehicles or next to them, while customers roll in to browse vintage, collectible, and “trash to treasure” items.
Finding the fleas
Grafton Flea Market, 296 Upton St., open Sundays 6 am-4 pm, 508-839-2217, graftonflea.com
Raynham Flea, Routes 24 & 44 on South St., open Sundays 7 am-5 pm, 508-823-8923, raynhamflea.com
Rietta Flea Market, 183 Gardner Road, Hubbardston, open Sundays 6 am-4 pm, 978-632-0559, riettafleamarket.com
Seekonk Flea Market, 1782 Fall River Ave., open Sundays 7 am-1 pm (weather permitting), 508-336-9959, seekonkfleamarket.com
Todd Farm Flea Market, 285 Main St., Rowley, open Sundays 5 am-3 pm, 978-948-3300, toddfarm.com
Desire’ Jackson-Crosby is pursuing a master’s degree in publishing and writing at Emerson College.