Treasure hunting

Chilmark Flea Market is a great place to find local products.


The Chilmark Flea Market at 142 North Road in Chilmark is buzzing. At 9:30 in the morning a few weeks ago, cars were lined up waiting for a parking space. A full house. Annette Anthony, the flea market’s vendor manager for the past 12 years, greets us, as she doubles up as a parking attendant, given the market’s attractivity.

The Chilmark Flea Market was originally a church event. It started in 1967 on the Chilmark Community Church steps. Today it has grown into 60 stands with over 100 vendors rotating every Wednesday and Saturday, and it’s held in an open field. Originally an antique flea market, it has evolved into a more general market with clothing, jewelry, pottery, sculptors, painting, and other objects as well as products from farms and beauty products. There are no specific criterias to become a vendor although on my visit, many stands were local wares. Each rented space is the same size for all: 12 feet x 30 feet. Applications take place in the spring online. It is Haley Falk’s second year bringing her handmade jewelry, H.Falk Designs, to the market. “To be selected you have to make your own products,” she says.

Debra Gains from the Berkshires has lived on the Island since 1981. She has been selling her original designs with her husband Warren at the flea market since 1992.

The flea market attracts people from all over the Island, young and old. It is a welcoming place to browse through the numerous stands of handmade jewelry (Island Phoenix), get a set of tea towels at Vineyard Cloth or try out Kimberly Morris’ Island-inspired beauty products from Bluewave. You can also find clothes at Kenworthy from the talented Island designer Randi Sylvia, or colorful T-shirts from local Lucy Vincent Apparel. Numerous farm products are also on display from the surrounding farms. For some, the flea market is their last stop before catching a ferry home. Some visitors from Long Island and upstate New York came to the flea market that day in hope of finding something cool to bring back home. They could have spent an entire day wandering around at the flea market.

The Chilmark Flea Market is held every Wednesday and Saturday through Sept.1.