As the second Sunday of April rolled around, the Rose Bowl was once again transformed into one of the most recognizable flea markets in California. Usually an expensive venue to enter, the flea market offers over 2000 vendors to you just for $9.
The market is opened up to the general public at nine in the morning, but that does not stop people from getting there almost an hour early to get a good parking spot. Fellow market attendees Robin Vasquez and Andrea Ruiz arrived at the Rose Bowl around 8:15 a.m.
“We have been a couple of times before and we know how quickly it gets packed,” said Vasquez. “The plan was to get here early so we can get a parking spot close to the entrance so we can be one of the first ones in there.”
Entering the gates, I was immediately greeted with food trucks directly ahead, with music blasting over speakers. Before checking out what would make a delicious meal, I opted to shop around a little.
I immediately got lost in a maze of tents that all sold antique and collectible items. There was a range of old-school collectibles from clothing during World War 2, to vintage Playboy magazines. Almost every vendor had something unique to offer, which can lead to hours upon hours of browsing.
I was interested in a man standing by a table filled with baseball items that looked to be from the 1940s. A torn up glove, scratched up baseballs and a hefty collection of baseball cards were all on display. The seller, Scott Bustamante, had made it a hobby of his after he retired to collect and trade baseball memorabilia.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now, and I wish I had started sooner,” Bustamante said with a chuckle. “I go to flea markets and swap meets all over California. I love finding rare baseball items that you can’t find normally. Sometimes I keep the items for myself, like a Lou Gehrig card I bought in Long Beach, but most of the time I like to sell it.”
I opted to buy one of the old-school gloves with a ball for $20. After walking around for what seemed like forever, I realized I had worked up an appetite. Going back to the food truck area in the beginning, my attention was drawn to a truck with bacon wrapped hot-dogs. The meal all together was a hot-dog, fries, and lemonade, for $16. It was a little overpriced in my opinion as the only memorable thing was the lemonade. The hot-dog was average, and the fries were plain. It was obvious most people come to the flea market for the market itself.
After disposing of my trash, I began to walk around the outside of the stadium which is wrapped around with vendors. Some had unique clothing options to choose from, while others sold things from the unordinary side of things. Tasers and bulletproof vests were some of the items I did not expect to see.
The Rose Bowl offers 2,500 vendors, but walking around it seems like there is thousands more. It is so easy to get lost in the merchandise offered by each and every tent. I had to do a couple of laps to make sure I did not miss anything.
Attending the Rose Bowl flea market is something everyone should consider trying out. If you missed it this month, do not worry the magic happens all over again every second Sunday of each month. Just make sure you have a lot of disposable money, because you are going to be buying a ton of amazing items.
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