By Wyndi Veigel
The first Saturday of each month, small-town Farmersville is transformed and greeted by both farmers and fleas.
Farmers & Fleas, a project of the Farmersville Main Street Program, originated as a way to boost shopping in the downtown area. Aug.1 was the 11 year anniversary.
The market was started in 2004 and has boasted many fleas and vendors over the years.
Newcomer to the market Billy Miller has only participated three times but already Farmers and Fleas has made an impact on him.
“I live in Farmersville and I love the downtown area and the history,” he said.
Miller sells birdbaths and daylilies at his vendor spot, and though his season is over for this year, he already plans to participate in the market next year.
“The people there are so nice,” he said.
For vendor Ann Kelley, it is the small town friendly atmosphere that has brought her back for about a year now.
Kelley, who sells jewelry and other sundry items, enjoys the reasonable prices for the vendor spots, $15 under the shed, and the fact that it’s partially covered under the Onion Shed.
“It’s very efficient and friendly,” she said. “I just love it.”
The market’s purpose is to assist sellers in the direct marketing of their products, and to attract customers to downtown Farmersville in a wholesome and neighborly atmosphere,” according to Main Street Manager Adah Leah Wolf.
“Our downtown is not the easiest to find; this event helps to educate visitors about our location and it gives them another reason to visit. We feel that once folks discover us they will want to return; this gives them impetus to discover,” Wolf said. “Every vendor and every shopper is personally greeted at this market. Our volunteers make it a point to model ‘friendly Farmersville’ to all of our guests. We are not the largest market, but we try to make sure our vendors and shoppers have a pleasant and fun experience. It is not unusual to find our City Mayor or one of our Councilmen ‘on duty’ during registration, helping vendors unload their vehicles.”
Approximately 3,500 hours over the past 11 years have been donated by volunteers, also known as “big fleas.”
There have been about 115 markets since its inception.
Since Main Street is already advertising the market, with approximately $6,730 each year spent in ads, it is easy to add information about other events happening that day to the advertising.
In fact, many events have been added to the same day as the market including sidewalk sales downtown, classic car shows, chili cook offs, Santa’s annual visit, the Chamber’s annual Yards of Yard Sales, the Chalk the Walk Event, Chaparral Trail Clean up by the Rotary Club, the Arlington Geocache annual event, Rotary Blood Drive, Bike Rides on the Chaparral Trail and numerous non- profit group that utilize the market for annual fundraisers, such as the Boy Scouts and churches.