Monday, June 27, 2011

Totally Texas -- First Monday Trade Days

First Monday Trade Days,



It’s wild, weird, and not always politically correct. It’s First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, which is -- and pay attention now, or you’ll miss everything -- NOT ON A MONDAY! It’s the Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of each month -- this upcoming Thursday (June 30) through Sunday (July 3).

My parents dragged me and my sister to Canton when we were kids. It’s grown since then. There’s more shade, more food and drink stands, more places to sit, rest, eat, and watch your fellow shoppers. It’s a flea market covering more than a hundred acres, and if there’s anything you can’t find there, you don’t need it.

Not having been to Trades Days in a few years, I was impressed to see wheeled shopping carts for sale ($25 during last month’s Trade Days) both at the park entrance off Highway 19 (North Trade Days Boulevard) and at many booths, but you’re welcome to bring your own. A lot of places also rented motorized scooters, which even able-bodied shoppers used to carry their goods.

The site suggests that if you find something you want, buy it then -- you may not be able to find your way back to the booth later. (A suggestion I endorse -- I could barely find my way back to the parking lot.) Maps are available at the main entrance and other places, but they don’t list individual booths.

Parking runs from $3 to $5 for places I noticed. The $5 parking is closest -- directly across the street from the entrance. Exercise care crossing Highway 19, although the traffic isn’t fast moving. Most of the drivers are trolling for parking places themselves.

Bring cash. From my observation, parking was strictly cash. Vendors in the more upscale sites may accept credit cards and checks, but as with any flea market, some of the best deals are off the beaten path -- and cash only.

Above all, watch out for the heat. It’s summer in Texas, and you know what that means. Cold drink stands sell water, but your best bet is to bring your own.

Canton is located off I-20 between Dallas and Tyler. Exits are marked -- the most direct are for Highway 64 and Highway 19.

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