Thousands attend flea market, fall festival

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2015


Two-year-old Liam Hesser and his father, Ty Hesser, check out a row of antique tractors Saturday morning at the annual Fall Festival downtown. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Two-year-old Liam Hesser and his father, Ty Hesser, check out a row of antique tractors Saturday morning at the annual Fall Festival downtown. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

The selections were many, the produce and farm products fresh and the menu varied as residents and visitors from the surrounding area gathered around the Old Court House Museum and at the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market site for city’s annual flea market and fall festival.

The booths around the courthouse square for the 33rd Old Court House Museum Flea Market featured a selection of items from arts and crafts, toys, bake sale items, and the unique and the commonplace.

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“We have 120 booths and 18 food booths,” Old Court House Museum curator and director Bubba Bolm said. “We’re getting a good crowd; they’re coming in as the day goes on.”

He estimated about 3,000 people attended the flea market.

“We wanted to enjoy the cool weather and see the booths,” said Ashley Picanty, one of the early shoppers, who was pushing a stroller containing her nephew, Wesson Smith.

Christy Page was visiting the flea market for the first time. “I’d never been, I wanted come see it and enjoy the cool breeze.”

For Portia Ashley, the flea market gave her an outing with her granddaughter, Ryleigh.

“I’m giving her mother a break,” she said. “We’re going to the flea market and the farmers’ market and then go eat at Rusty’s. It’s something to do for me and my grandbaby.”

Early visitors to the market were able to stop and visit with vendors as they moved along Cherry and Jackson streets and took in the offerings. Along Monroe Street, they were able to choose from menus featuring meat pies, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, funnel cakes, Italian Ice and steak and chicken sandwiches.

Around the Court House, people were able to look at yard signs, were attracted by the sounds of wind chimes dancing in the wind and look at jewelry, toys and yard decorations to celebrate holidays and seasons.

Located among the booths was Paul Barnes, who was selling hand-made wooden iceboxes.

“It started out as a hobby and became a sideline,” he said, as he sat among several boxes on display. “I sold a few, and people began asking about them. I’ve got special orders to fill for December, so I’ve got some time to work on them.”

Jo Willett from Flora displayed items made from old car tags, including a guitar form covered with tags from different states. She also had birdhouses and plaques featuring words spelled out using pieces of tags. She said the booth she and her husband Ron had at the flea market was their first here.

“We’ve been doing this about four years,” she said. “Our daughter had a guitar form and she wanted us to cover it with car tags. We had a friend who had a guitar, so we copied the form and made one. Then we looked at it and said, ‘This might be a good idea.’”

Down the hill from the flea market, at the corner of Jackson and Washington streets, the visitors to the Downtown Fall Festival and the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market found a selection of fresh vegetables, pasta, spices and dairy products along with bounce houses for the children and a display of antique tractors along Washington Street.

“We’ve got eight booths today, which is above average for the fall market,” farmers’ market marketing manager Sonny Hale said. “We’ve had good attendance. People keep coming in. Unfortunately, we don’t have any greens because of the (hot) weather, but we’ll make up for it.”

At her booth, “The Garden of Bliss,” which sold a variety of spices and peppers, Sara Bliss said business was doing well. “We’re getting a lot of traffic,” she said.

Across the lot from Bliss, T&R Dairy from Liberty, a farmers’ market regular, was doing a volume business as people lined up to taste and purchase cheese and other dairy products, and meat. “We have beef and pork and cheeses,” said T&R owner Mary Regan.

Ashley McCullough of Vicksburg, a regular T&R customer for two years, was paying for three gallons of milk.

“Every time they’re here, I buy milk,” she said. “Their milk is better than what you can get in the grocery store.”

Near the T&R truck, Barbara Sanders of Richland, Louisiana, was sitting in a chair enjoying a snack.

A member of National Association for Mental Illness, she was supporting the organization’s booth, which was selling plants and giving out information on NAMI.

“We’re raising fund for our in Jackson in November,” she said.

Over on the sidewalk by the bounce houses. Gabe and Amy Gattle were watching their children play on the attractions.

“We’re here to enjoy the flea market and the festival and watch the children have a good time,” amy said.

“I’m here because my wife is here,” her husband said before cracking a smile. “We’re just having a good time and enjoying ourselves.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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