There are plenty of places to go shopping in Dallas, maybe more than just about any other city in the world. Most of those shops, though, are corporate chains that just don't need any more of our money. There are dozens of small businesses that we're happy to support, but it's harder to connect directly with the artisans who hand-make everything from soap to furniture.
That's where The Dallas Flea comes in. Founded in 2009 by a former DailyCandy and Dallas Morning News editor, the "upscale flea market" occurs a few times a year and features vendors of all kinds from all over the country. Annually, The Dallas Flea attracts upwards of 5,000 shoppers, and a recent move from SouthSide on Lamar to Trinity Groves will allow the event to further attract more people.
This year's show has attracted more than 100 vendors from near and far, selling just about anything you can think of. Bishop Arts greenhouse Brumley Gardens will be there selling season-appropriate plants, Dowdy Studio will bring their quirky graphic designs on t-shirts, and Kate Weiser Chocolate will bring her impossibly fancy hand-painted bonbons. There will also be plenty of antiques vendors, jewelry sellers, and design studios offering their wares.
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If all that shopping makes you hungry, restaurants from Trinity Groves and beyond will be on-hand providing food, like Babb Bros. BBQ and the Easy Slider truck. A vendor called Jar Cakery will be selling, you guessed it, cakes in jars, which sounds just about like the best damn idea ever. Krish Coffee will be there to provide the caffeine fuel that you'll need to walk around the 20,000 square foot space all day.
At only $5 to enter for the entire day of shopping, The Dallas Flea feels like you've been given a ticket to the best curated antique mall of all time. It's like going to Canton without having to walk by all those sad puppy mill animals and wreaths made out of clothespins. You also won't find any resellers of mass-market goods. The Dallas Flea requires that all vendors offer "handmade, vintage, or one-of-a-kind" items.
Events like The Dallas Flea are incredibly important if Dallas is serious about supporting small business and enterprising people who are trying to showcase their talents. Instead of buying that neckace from Urban Outfitters -- who probably jacked its design from someone on Etsy anyway -- pick up a one-of-a-kind piece from one of the excellent vendors at The Dallas Flea this weekend.
The Dallas Flea is Saturday, March 7 at Trinity Groves. Admission is $5.