Best Flea Market - 2009
Belleville Flea Market
Belleville is a beautiful town, full of cool old buildings and white asparagus. But its greatest allure must be the flea market held on the third full weekend of each month in Belle Clair Fairgrounds Park. This is a gargantuan, sprawling bazaar, and to get to the transaction you must first wend your way through many furlongs of parked trucks. The outskirts, ringed by banana boxes full of bright plastic Made in China crap, can be rainy or hot, depending on the weather, but the indoor hub is always blessedly dry and air-conditioned. It's also full of festive funnel cake and Nutty Bavarian glazed pecan aromas. The happy buzz of a healthy cash-only economy fills the air as one wanders from table to table. Permed white-haired ladies discuss the best way to get stains out of old embroidered pillowcases (Biz) while middle-aged men in Hawaiian shirts sell vinyl to teens wearing blue bangs and combat boots. There's just so much stuff here — vintage and new, priceless and worthless — that all too soon your arms will be full of more than you can carry. And then, sadly, it's time to go. Our advice to the Belleville/Swansea Lions Club: A Sherpa-like bundle-toting service would rake in much more money than those tubs of cheez spread do.