" One man's junk is another man's treasure." Today, shopping has to a great extent replaced hunting as a national pastime. Finding something unusual or unique gives people a sense of accomplishment. Flea markets, thrift stores, consignment stores all hold the possibility of excitement. Finding something that holds special value, even if only to its beholder, rewards the hunter (Confessions of, February 13, 2000).
The idea of flea markets is nothing new, in fact it began a long time ago and has evolved into the swap meets of today. In Europe, the flea market stemmed from the French "Marche aux Puces." In the early days, people thought what was purchased at the flea market might actually be inhabited with parasites. The Paris flea market is located outside of the City of Paris, in Porte de Clignancourt. It is held every Sunday and is the "King" of French flea markets (Open-air-Market, February 23, 2000) America has, as usual, adopted a different style. One of the oldest American flea markets is in Canton, Texas, and began in 1873 as a stray horse auction. It now draws 100,000 buyers and has space for up to 6,000 vendors to display their collections. (Rummaging Through, February 13, 2000). The largest open-air arts and crafts market (in continuous operation) in the United States is the Portland Saturday Market. Open every Saturday and Sunday, March through December in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1974, the Portland Saturday Market celebrated its 25th season in 1998. The vendors, who sell at the market, are individual small business owners from all over Oregon and Washington. Over half of the crafts people exhibiting at this market derive the majority of their income from sales at the market.
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