By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Lancaster – Legendary television cowboy Rex Trailer will help kick off the warm-weather season for the Lancaster Marketplace, the year-round indoor flea market on Route 70.
Trailer, who hosted the children's television show “Boomtown” for almost two decades and has been proposed as the state's “official cowboy” in a bill filed in the Legislature, will welcome shoppers and perform some of his country and western tunes all day Sunday, April 22.
“There's free admission for anyone wearing a cowboy hat that day,” said Seb Valera, general manager of the Lancaster Marketplace. The flea market is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., as it is every Sunday, rain or shine.
The market has been operating since 2003 in the 60,000-square-foot, air-conditioned space, which has 315 booths and 50 indoor table spaces. During the spring and summer months, an additional 50 outdoor tables are added, and there's plenty of free parking.
In May, a new vendor at the market will open a full bridal exhibit, Valera said. The exhibit, under a white tent inside the market building, will feature a broad array of wedding services, such as photography, florists, DJs and bands.
“The person running it is a justice of the peace and can actually perform a wedding ceremony right there,” he said.
Valera would like to add additional service-oriented vendors at Lancaster.
“We may try to set up an information section where people can talk to business owners but not feel pressured,” perhaps with providers of home improvement services or vacation travel planning participating.
“I's like to do a craft show at some point as well,” he noted.
Lancaster Marketplace has about 200 permanent vendors, sellers who rent indoor booths and are there every Sunday, offering a wide variety of products, including jewelry, antiques and collectibles, sporting goods, clothing, homemade foods and crafts. Some of these vendors have other stores that are open during the week, and for some, this is their only retail outlet.
In addition to those permanent booths, the market rents table space on a first-come-first-served basis. Indoor tables rent for $25 a day, outdoor tables for $15, “and we provide the table.”
“We get a lot of homeowners and estate sales, people cleaning out a parent's home, or people who live in condos and can's hold a yard sale,” Valera said. “We have much more foot traffic than a yard sale, and people are coming here to buy.”
He also pointed out that selling such things at the marketplace may be safer than holding a yard sale or listing on Craigslist. “The buyers don's know where you live, especially if you are selling fairly valuable items. No one will call you at home and no one knows your name.”
Renting a table for a day is easy, just show up at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, “and be sure to take what you don's sell with you at the end of the day,” Valera said. The outdoor tables have parking for the vendor right behind the table.
Lancaster Marketplace includes the Lady Lancaster Diner, a replica of a 1950s diner serving full breakfast and lunch.
The facility also has an ATM machine on site since many vendors just take cash, and the service desk can accept credit cards on behalf of vendors.
Admission is $2, $1 for folks 55 and older. Children under 12 are free. Coupons for discounted admission are widely available, including on the market's website, www.thelancastermarketplace.com, which features the new animated mascot, Freddy the Flea.
Lancaster Marketplace is at 1304 Lunenburg Rd. (Rt. 70) in Lancaster, between Routes 2 and 117. For additional information, call 866-400-3532 or visit the website www.thelancastermarketplace.com.