The most dazzlingly spectacular views beyond imagination; great wine, amazing people, well behaved pooches, artisans and crafters of every unique sort, ultra clean porta-potties and so much more! Welcome to the Treasure Island Flea Market on Treasure Island in San Francisco, the beautiful city by the bay.
I have always had a love of swap meets, flea markets, rummage sales, digging for treasures, dusting them off and inspiring new life into them. It’s a passion spawned from my childhood—(don’t most of our idiosyncrasies begin there?) For me, I was raised on Indian land, and each month as the government continued to buy up the southern part of Oregon, they sent checks to the Indians who still called the high desert home. The Indians, not really knowing what to do with the money or understanding its purpose, would go into the white town, buy tons of crap—(no easy feat, as Wal-Mart had yet to come to this small town). Within a few days, the dump would be overflowing with signs of the culture of mass consumerism that lived beyond our reservation lines. I would scavenge through the discarded merchandise to discover all manner of wonders. It is this ‘pirate like digging for buried treasure attitude’ that is with me today.
What is a Flea Market?In its most general definition, a ‘flea market’ is an open air market, which rents space to people who come sell their wares. All manner and quality of goods and foods can be found at the market. They are popular throughout the world, with the first in the USA being held in Texas in 1873. Where the term originated is not entirely clear. The most popular theory is that it is a literal translation from the French meaning ‘market where one acquires fleas’ and named after the wingless bloodsuckers that infested old upholstery of furniture that was bought at the outdoor bazaars in Paris. Another origin story finds its roots in New York City, on Maiden Lane near the East River in Manhattan. In the 1800’s there was a huge market that stood on marshland in this area, and was called the Fly Market.
What Is Treasure Island? Treasure Island is an artificial island in San Francisco Bay, created in 1936 from fill dredged from the bay for the World’s Fair. The island is named after the book, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson who lived in San Francisco in 1879. Since then, it has served as an airport for the now defunct Pan Am Airlines, a military base and set to a ton of great movies; Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Patch Williams, What Dreams May Come, The Pursuit of Happyness and many others.
What is Treasure Island Flea Market?Treasure Island Flea is more than a ‘flea market’; it is home to vendors peddling antiques, vintage and retro furniture and wares, live music, great food trucks, wine tasting and tons of artisans showing their unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind creations. Held the last full weekend of every month from 10:00 a.m. to 4p.m., this flea market is more aptly described as an event, in which you can take your whole family or out of town guests and experience a slice of local life.
* Take the #108 MUNI Treasure Island bus line, for a beautiful and scenic ride to the event. The bus is cheap! $2 with a 90-minute transfer for unlimited MUNI rides—the great views of the city make this ride worth every penny.
* Tons of FREE parking is available, for those who choose to drive.
* The admission is $3.00—less than a Starbucks!
* Very pooch friendly…and very well behaved pooches to boot. Most of the vendors have watering dishes and there are even vendors who sell specialty treats and canine accoutrements—and get this, Relaxing Rex! Oh yeah, canine massage.
* Vie Wine Tasting/Truck! And yes, this is an amenity! We purchased four bottles of their high end Rhone style varietals and Zinfandel based wines. Vie comes from the Old French word meaning “to invite” or “to give occasion for“. Today, it means “Life“. So enjoy yours!
* Live Music. A variety of singers and musicians take center lawn—adding a nice ambience and vibe to the affair.
* Clean Porta Potties! I know I opened with this, but, it deserves mention again. Do I have to hold my breath? What is that on the floor? OMG! What did I just step in? Maintained the entire weekend, there was no need to fear a visit to the porta potty!
This was my first weekend as a vendor, in which I sold hand-made music themed pillows and handbags.
My fabulous neighbor, Atomic Grandma–(Peggy Castro), makes these wonderful sock monkeys! They come in different sizes, guises and colors! These iconic and wonderful monkeys, were popular during the Depression era, when folks couldn’t afford toys.
Atomic Grandma is also featured on page 45 of the Regretsy book–a hilarious compilation of when DIY Meets WTF, with her Bertha monkey. Bertha is a pregnant sock monkey. The baby comes out and has an umbilical cord and placenta attached–(uber cute not creepy); then, the cord detaches and there is a piece of invisible velcro to attach the baby to the mamma’s breast. Too sweet. Bertha also has the ability to have a C-Section. It is a great, sweet way to have that ‘birds and bees‘ conversation.
As my first time out, I send HUGE thanks to my friend Daniel Lengerich for trekking all my treasures to and from the event and helping me set up and break down. The biggest thanks go to my love Gaines Coleman; together we are definitely ‘Science Meets Bohemia’! He applied his engineering skill to constructing the bags, supporting me and participating in a wonderful weekend. We are already gearing up for next month!
Since you made it all the way to this point, we are sure you want to go! So, shoot me an email, (email@example.com), and I will put you on our guest list!
About Heather Jacks
Vixen of Vocabulary who likes to wax poetic about the world of street art, music,busking and all things indie. She has earned two college degrees, traveled extensively and written three books. She is currently finishing the multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple Art-Style Book, to be released in NYC, Spring 2013.