A local flea market will be celebrating its 19th anniversary this weekend by honoring the very people it serves to benefit — kids.
All of the usual vendors will be out Saturday morning at the John Muir PTA flea market, but this time they will be joined by a brand new Kids’ Corner featuring games, food, face painting, a bounce house and much more.
“We do a lot of fundraisers, and instead of having a silent auction … we wanted to have more vendors and make this really benefit the children and the community/school relationship,” PTA President Helene Seisay said.
John Muir students will be helping to make the Kids’ Corner possible, with the second grade hosting a bake sale and the third grade sponsoring a used toy sale.
“Since it’s the 19th anniversary, we’re definitely looking back at the history and what it’s offered for John Muir,” Clay Engels, a John Muir parent and the flea market’s manager said.
Since it began almost two decades ago, the flea market has raised thousands of dollars for programs at John Muir Elementary School.
“It first got started with some parents trying to come up with creative way to generate a revenue stream for the PTA to be able to bring it back to the kids,” Engels said, citing the education cuts that all of California’s public schools have had to deal with. “They really had to be creative to come up with the funding themselves.”
Today, things such as John Muir’s music, art, computer and science programs are all made possible through the flea market’s funding. Additionally, the money covers all of the school’s buses for enriching field trips to places like the Channel Islands and Watts Towers.
“It really is vital,” Engels said. “The PTA has to be creative to make sure that the children have the same things that we took for granted as kids ourselves.”
Just this year, the PTA decided to expand the flea market to include both the first and the third Saturday of every month. While still successful, the turnout for the third Saturday has not been as high as the first Saturdays’ typical 40 vendors and $1,200-1,500 in revenue.
“There’s an ebb and flow to it,” Engels said.
Additionally, as the flea market is held in the parking lot of Olympic High School, the $1 entrance fee goes to benefit programs at that school as well.
“It’s a very nice and symbiotic relation for public schools in the community,” Engels added.
The flea market is characterized as a bazaar, with vendors selling a little bit of everything. On any given Saturday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., market-goers can find items such as clothing, used CDs, records, antiques and jewelry. The Kids’ Corner will now be a permanent fixture at the flea market as well.
“We want this to be the place where people go on a Saturday,” Seisay said.