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December 6, 2005 > The Ohlone College Super Flea Market

The Ohlone College Super Flea Market

by Pushpa Warrier

A flea market is a facility that rents space to anyone that offers for sale to the general public merchandise, products, items and services. These renters are known as vendors. Flea markets have been around for hundreds of years and could be considered as a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry that has never been and probably never will be truly defined.

The most popular belief on the origin of the flea market is that it is a direct translation of the French Marche'aux Puces - a large outdoor bazaar in Paris known for its critter-infested goods it was rumored to sell. Another viewpoint is that the term was coined at a time when the slums and alleys of Paris were demolished and replaced by new construction. The dealers in second-hand goods who lived and worked in these old neighborhoods were forced to flee. The merchants' new gathering place was referred to as the "flee market" which later became "flea market."

Another theory holds that the flea market is associated with the city of New York's 18th century "Fly Market." Apparently the Dutch name for the market was "vlie" which means valley but is pronounced "flea."

The Ohlone College Super Flea Market, which began 18 years ago, is a phenomenon to be experienced. It is a true shopper's paradise where you can find items at a bargain. The sheer variety of merchandise is a treat for the discerning shopper. In the words of Robert Ettare, supervisor of the Ohlone College Super Flea Market, it is "clean and quaint," and is a unique experience for shoppers and vendors alike. If you are thinking of cleaning out your home looking for a way to do away with household items you no longer have a use for, consider selling them at the flea market.

The Ohlone College Super Flea Market is held on the second Saturday every month year-round. Shopping hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. About 500 vendors offer homemade crafts, jewelry, food, tools, gift items, toys, household supplies, collectibles, used items, cosmetics, electronics and much, much more. The sales from the proceeds benefit school programs.

Flea Markets are an excellent opportunity for people interested in starting their own business without a large layout of capital and long-term commitments.

Albert La Farge, author of the U.S. Flea Market Directory says, "Today's American flea market is a modern version of a phenomenon that has endured throughout history in all civilized societies - wherever there is a high concentration of people, there will be market days when they assemble for the exchange of goods and services." The market place of the ancient Greeks was known as the Agora; in Rome, the Forum; and in Israel, the Temples. Each nation has its own name that translates into flea market.

America has approximately 5,000 flea markets, swap meets, open-air, farmers, antique and collectible markets and special events, with an estimate of over one million vendors and $100 million annual shoppers.

Admission to the Ohlone College Super Flea Market is free. No pets are allowed and campus parking is $2.

For more information please contact or for questions, comments or suggestions.

Ohlone College Super Flea Market

Saturday, December 10

8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ohlone College Bldg # 20

43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont


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