Shopping Guide: First Monday Trade Days
It’s no secret we’re obsessed with First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. The outdoor flea market an hour east of Dallas sources more than half of our online shop’s cool finds and is home to several of our vendors each month during its four day event. When the city was devastated by a tornado last spring, we donated 100% of proceeds from our online shop’s five day campaign to support relief efforts.
We’re gearing up for our monthly day trip to shop for shopfleastyle.com and fixtures for our new store opening next spring. Over the past few months we’ve scored everything from vintage clothing racks and mannequins to antique magazine racks and lighting. We wanted to share some of our tips and tricks for tackling the massive market and even shine some light on it’s unique history.
The Low Down
In the 1850’s the circuit judge visited Canton’s town square on the first Monday of each month and locals would visit to buy and sell goods and sit in on court proceedings. By the mid 1960s, the popular market outgrew downtown and the city purchased six acres two blocks north to move “First Monday” off the square. Today the market is a giant outdoor flea market that also includes dozens of arbors hawking commercial goods, food and more.
When to Go
Canton’s downtown has darling shops open all month. But the market is open Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of each month from sun up until sundown (rain or shine). We try to go Thursday or Friday because the weekends can get really crowded. However, the later you go in the week, the better the prices can get. Gloomy/drizzling days are best because most people don’t want to hit the fields and the vendors out there want to make sales.
What to Expect
First Monday Trade Days has something for everyone from shabby chic furniture and holiday wreaths to aged brass vases and vintage clothing. More commercial items, food and even services (need some keys made?) can all be found, too. Some vendors have set prices in the arbors while the outdoor vendors are usually always willing to budge.
Our Favorite Areas to Shop
We like to roam outside in the fields behind the Civic Center. This is where the random, quirky, funky finds are. For our website we’ve found everything from vintage handbags and belts in booths to painted cow skulls and pottery. Typically we avoid the arbors because most items are not handmade or vintage but we do love the Civic Center for the occasional heirloom or large furniture piece.
Our Favorite Areas to Eat
We love the chopped brisket sandwich in the center field area. Don’t miss the adorable vintage trailer that serves fresh fruit ice cream (the peach and banana are our faves). In Canton, Dairy Palace has killer fried pickles, burgers (we love the bison or turkey) and the best selection of Blue Bell Ice Cream we’ve ever seen. Buttermilk’s also has some solid down home cooking.
What to Bring
Consider bringing small change (vendors really appreciate it), a hat and sunscreen (the open fields have very little shade) and a cart or wagon to wheel around your treasures. Good to know: If you forget cash, there is an ATM in the Civic Center. Flat shoes are a must and we like a cross body handbag or backpack to keep our hands free for treasure hunting. Don’t forget to stash some hand wipes and water in your cart to stay clean and hydrated!
We like the two lots adjacent to the Civic Center off Highway 64. They cost $5 (cash only) and are close to the fields. If you spring for a large find, the vendor will hand you a slip to drive inside the fields and pick it up at the booth.
For First Monday Trade Days parking and directions, click here. The market runs the Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of each month from sunrise until sundown rain or shine. Entry is free; parking is $5. For more info, visit firstmondaycanton.com.