‘Find Interesting and Unique Things that Tell a Story’

‘Find Interesting and Unique Things that Tell a Story’

Fairfax Funky Flea opens Sept. 25 in Fairfax City with up to 60 vendors, music, food and more.

— Get ready for the Fairfax Funky Flea. Owned and organized by longtime Fairfax City residents Kathy Hackshaw and Sharon Buttram, it’s being put on in partnership with the City of Fairfax Parks and Rec Department.

This community event is slated for Saturday, Sept. 25. in the Fairfax City Hall parking lot, 10455 Armstrong St., from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. And it’s called “funky” for a reason.

“Besides liking the alliteration, we’re aiming for a casual, fun, relaxed atmosphere that’ll attract all the generations that live here,” said Hackshaw. “We’ll even have acoustic music in the background. And we want to appeal to high-end vendors – we don’t want people bringing in things they’d throw away. Customers should think of this as a place where they can buy gifts for the holidays, teachers, acts of kindness, etc.”

“We want people to be able to discover unique items they can’t find anywhere else,” said Buttram. “Instead of things they could get in a store, these will be more collectible, for people wanting to decorate with boho, upscale items – eclectic, and not the same things everyone else has.”

Some local artists will also sell their work there. In addition, Gracious Me Music, Valeria Stewart, Jim Thorpe Music and The Braeded Chord will perform folk music throughout the day. As for food, Fairfax restaurant Red Hot & Blue will be selling its Memphis barbecue.

Nonprofit Britepaths is offering pre-packaged snacks and drinks as a fundraiser to help their clients in need. It will also be there at the Oct. 30 Funky Flea, along with Coyote Grille’s Tex-Mex food truck, The Roaming Coyote.

And, said Buttram, “We’re working with GMU’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to bring young entrepreneurs to sell their packaged coffees and teas at the market.”

“Visitors may expect to find the perfect things they never knew they needed,” said Hackshaw. “Flea markets are typically a fun mix of vintage items, art, antiques, newer things and crafted/upcycled items. You never know what you'll find – which adds to the fun.”

There’s space for about 60 vendors in the area next to the community garden at the top of the parking lot. ​The market will be open, rain or shine, except in extreme weather conditions (high wind and all-day rain events). Check the Website, www.fairfaxfunkyflea.com, to be sure, and for further information, including the latest COVID-19 guidelines.

“It’s not too late to become a vendor,” said Buttram. “They should just go to the Website to register, and information will then be emailed to them. As long as space is available, spaces will be reserved for them. We’re also on Facebook under Fairfax Funky Flea. And people with just a few items to sell can share a space with others.”

Cash and Venmo are common payment methods at flea markets. Not all vendors may accept credit cards, but nearby banks have ATMs. Prices will be clearly marked, but customers are free to haggle – because bargaining is part of the flea-market fun.

Both Hackshaw and Buttram love going to flea markets themselves, so it was only natural that they started one of their own. “I enjoy the entire experience – people-watching, seeing what’s displayed and setting up my own display,” said Hackshaw. “I like explaining the history behind certain items, plus the event’s festive atmosphere. It’s an outdoor, fun, community day.”

“I like to find really interesting and unique things that tell a story,” said Buttram. “And I like the idea of recycling and re-loving things. Instead of going into a landfill, these items get to be reused and go to a home that’ll love and appreciate them.”

Her own, favorite, flea-market find is a large, old, metal, Esso gasoline sign – and she even remodeled her kitchen around it. “My father was an Esso gas dealer, so it reminds me of him,” she said. “Plus, it’s graphically vivid and has bright colors – I just love it.”

Hackshaw’s treasure was a large box of old, interior, hand-painted, Italian tiles. “I got dozens of tiles for less than $10,” she said. “I’ve set cheese or plants on them and used them as coasters. I’ve also given some as gifts; they’re now all over the Washington, D.C., area, and it’s nice knowing that.”

She said nearly everyone attending a flea market “relaxes, strolls and takes time to peruse the items. And because each vendor is different, there’s a whole variety of items to see. Our location is also within walking distance of GMU’s campus, so students can get here easily.”

Furthermore, added Buttram, “We think it’s a great opportunity for people who haven’t come to Fairfax City to see what’s here – great restaurants, shops, parks, etc. And now, we’re one of those things.”

​​There’s free parking at City Hall, plus limited street parking. Public restrooms will be available inside City Hall during the event. Attendees should bring their own, reusable bags for their found treasures.

To protect everyone’s health and safety, no one should enter the market if sick. Those age 2 and over who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks.