Mark your calendars for September 15 and October 20
Canton is home to one of the largest makers markets in this part of Northeast Ohio. The Downtown Canton Flea began in 2015 as a downtown garage sale of sorts. It has evolved to become a collection of about 75 vendors who run vintage shops, sell antiques, make handmade products and operate food trucks.
David and Melissa Sherrill, owners of Arrowhead Vintage and Handmade Goods, founded the flea four seasons ago in an effort to bring more people downtown. Now, Doug and Jess Bennett, who co-own downtown Canton-based Letterpress Jess and are part owners of Print & Press Shop & Studios, partner with the Sherrills to put on the Flea.
Jess Bennett said there’s a huge entrepreneurial push happening downtown in terms of the handmade trend, and the Flea is a way to showcase those goods and help fledging businesses that aren’t ready for brick-and-mortar shops grow a customer base.
“Flea markets are very in vogue right now,” she said.
Attendance at a typical Saturday Flea varies based on the weather but averages between 1,000 and 1,500 visitors.
Heather Bourquin started her all-natural pet supply business Pet Wants Canton in July 2017 and made the Downtown Canton Flea one of her first events. She doesn’t have a storefront for her franchise, so she relies on markets such as the Flea to make sales.
“The traffic at the event is always great,” Bourquin wrote in an email. “The Downtown Canton Flea is now one of my best events, and I plan to be a full season vendor for many summers to come.”
Vendors must apply for a booth, and the event is juried—meaning not everyone who wants a spot gets one every time. Bennett said the goal is to have at least a quarter of the vendors at each event be new, so that people who come to multiple fleas aren’t shopping the same stands over and over. Some of the vendors expected at the September Flea are Fat T’s Cookies, Bohemian Mama, Kelley Rohr Designs, The Cuddle Cult and Pierogi Joe’s.
During the upcoming September 15 market, shoppers also will be treated to a free concert. The daytime portion of The Little C Music Festival—which is hosted by local rock band Hey Monea!—will be held in Market Square starting at noon.
As always, there will be free yoga from 9 to 10 a.m. thanks to 6th Street Yoga, free face-painting for kids and craft beer on sale from Royal Docks Brewing Co.
The Downtown Canton Flea runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month from May through October on Court Avenue NW between Fifth and Third streets NW. There are two more Fleas scheduled this year: September 15 and October 20.