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Spring Cleaning with Repurpose

Flea Market for more than just buying and selling


Friday, April 26 (8:30 a.m.): While the calendar says it’s time for spring cleaning, Patricia Dickson knows that the sense of community the annual Activities Council Flea Market brings is never out of season.

Matt Houser displays the many musical instruments he will be selling at the Activities Council Flea Market. News photo by Dan Rosenstrauch

“You get to see a lot of people you don’t see very often,” said Dickson, one of about 70 people signed up as of late last week for a vendor’s table at the flea market on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Gateway Clubhouse area. Plus, there’s always this: “I enjoy getting rid of things; I enjoy cleaning out the extras,” Dickson said. “And then you go buy something new for yourself.”

The tables at the annual flea market are expected to be teeming with everything from the usual clothing, kitchenware and jewelry to art pieces, glassware, beanie babies, sports-related items and the ever-popular “miscellaneous” objects. What shoppers won’t see Saturday are the kinds of handmade items that make up much of the inventory of the annual Fall Bazaar.

“It’s not high-end things, mostly, but it’s different stuff every time,” said Brian Pennebaker, GRF’s events coordinator. “And even if you don’t need new stuff, it’s still fun to look.”

The flea market is a longtime Rossmoor tradition, Pennebaker said, an annual event for many years until the pandemic upended it for three years starting in 2020. The market came back strong in 2023, and Pennebaker said the number of vendors is back up to, or at least close to, pre-COVID levels.

“Instead of people throwing stuff out, this lets people repurpose things,” Pennebaker added.

While Dickson, an 18-year Rossmoor resident, is a veteran of perhaps a dozen flea markets, Saturday’s event will be Matt Houser’s first. He and his now-wife Jeanette moved to Rossmoor from San Diego eight months ago with “too much stuff, a bunch of leftover stuff.” The former owner of a music store, Houser said he’ll have a number of musical instruments at Saturday’s flea market.

“We had been thinking of having a yard sale, but we thought (the flea market) would be fun,” he said. “It’s kind of a spring-cleaning thing.”

It also can be a money- making thing, Pennebaker said, with those selling their wares keeping the money. Lorinda Hartnell moved to Rossmoor two months ago, downsizing from a large home in Santa Rosa where she had lived for 11 years. “I still have a lot of stuff I don’t have room to keep anymore,” she said. She plans to have several boxes full of glasses and dishware at the flea market – things she doesn’t want to have to pay to store.

Hartnell also appreciates the social aspect of the sale. “I haven’t had much of a chance to get out,” she said.

You can’t put a price tag on the social scene the flea market brings with it, Dickson said – a scene not really possible if you just drop off those extra or no-longer-wanted items for donation, or worse, in the garbage.

“Flea markets are a good way to connect with people, when it’s time for someone else to enjoy these items,” she said. “Let someone else enjoy those old dishes.”