After 14 months of the Nashville Flea Market being closed because of COVID-19, the outdoor portion of the market will reopen this weekend.
It will be a Saturday and Sunday only market, instead of the usual three-day run, and flea market officials expect about 100 vendors with about 300 booths to be open for business, selling everything from plants and trees to Mennonite furniture, jewelry, dishware, yard art, and health and beauty items.
“I think it will be a good mixture,” said flea market director Mary Ann Smith. “There will be a little bit of everything. It is not going to be as full as we hoped, but I think the vendors are excited to be coming back.”
Scott Wallace, senior adviser to the flea market, agreed.
“With the mask mandate lifted (in Davidson County), people are so ready to get out,” Wallace said. He said this month marks the anniversary of the Nashville Flea Market. “It started in May 1968 so it is a good time to get started back up.”
The market, like so many businesses, shut down in March 2020 and has remained closed since then, with the buildings serving as an emergency COVID-19 housing facility for Nashville’s homeless population.
Smith says the buildings are expected to be turned back over to the fairgrounds staff in July, and the hope is to get the facilities ready for the indoor/outdoor flea market and other fairgrounds expo events by the September market date.
The number of vendors expected this weekend is still way below the peak market weekends when there are often more than 1,500 vendors set up inside and outside and as many as 25,000 to 30,000 shoppers over the weekend.
But Smith says her team expects to build back up to the former numbers by the October market, which is usually the biggest of the year. The two-day outdoor-only flea market weekends until then are just a start, she says.
Smith and Wallace say they expect a good turnout for the May market after receiving more than 100 calls and emails almost every week from people (vendors and shoppers) wanting to know when the market will reopen.
“I think it will be a good market,” Smith said.