Long Beach Antique and Collectibles Market at Veteran's Stadium

Flea Market, Swap Meet or Antique Market?

Long Beach Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market
Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

When: 3rd Sunday of every month.
Admission and Hours: $12 from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.; $6 from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Children under 12 are free.
Discount coupons available on the website or on flyers are good after 8 a.m.
Address: Faculty Ave & Conant St; Long Beach 90808, between Lakewood Blvd. and Clark
Directions: From the 405 Freeway exit Lakewood north then right on Conant.
From the 105, exit Lakewood south, then left on Conant.
Parking: Free lot
Telephone: (323) 655-5703
Web Site: www.LongBeachAntiqueMarket.com

In Southern California, most flea markets are called swap meets, except when they are called antique and collectible markets – the distinguishing factor being that in L.A. “swap meets” usually have more new merchandise than old.

On the third Sunday of every month, antique hunters converge on Long Beach for the Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market at Veteran’s Stadium. With 800 vendors spread over 20 acres, the Long Beach Antique Market is the largest flea market in the Southland offering exclusively antiques and collectibles. A few vendors squeeze in with newer hand-made crafts, more recently used items, or the odd knock off, but for the most part, vendors stick to the rules.

The Dealers

Whether you’re shopping for Depression glass, retro furniture, vintage clothing, jewelry or furs, or anything else made anywhere in the world 30 or more years ago, you’re bound to find something you can’t live without among the long rows of stalls.

Donald Moger of Americana Enterprises Inc. has hosted the event since 1982. “Ninety-five percent of dealers are from California and western states,” he explains, “but winter brings in dealers from colder parts of the country.” On my visit, vendors are in from Louisiana, Tennessee, and Oregon. Some of the dealers come every month from as far away as San Francisco. Others come at different intervals.

I run into a recent transplant from Maryland doing a brisk business selling Asian artifacts on his first time at this venue. He’s been so busy, that he hasn’t had a chance to finish unloading his truck. I also run into sellers from Eugene, Oregon, Lancaster, Tehachapi, Palos Verdes Estates, Monterey Park, El Monte, and, of course, Long Beach. Some of the regulars aren’t doing so well since early morning showers resulted in a smaller than usual crowd. All the better for bargain hunters. One industrious dealer had his “Rainy Day Special” sign all ready to go.

The Shoppers

Shoppers come from all over the world too. Lilian Cavadini from Zurich is loading her backpack with jewelry and beads to take home to reassemble in Switzerland. “I am here visiting a friend in Irvine,” she tells me. “When I heard there was a flea market, I had to come.”

I find Mary, from Alaska, rooting through boxes of silverware looking for anything that might strike her fancy. She looks forward to her husband getting contracts in Southern California every couple years so she can come down and shop. “It’s one of the best flea markets in the area,” she raves. “I always find something here.”

Plenty of locals fill the aisles as well. Seventeen-year-old Long Beach residents Claire Anderson and Mary McKeever are browsing the vintage jewelry. “We come to look for clothes and jewelry mostly, but this time, we’re also looking for furniture,” says Mary. “I’m redoing my room and I want to have an old-fashioned vintage look.” Claire turns to explain the pricing of the jewelry on the table to a newcomer – they’re obviously regulars at this stall.<br/>
A man with a telephone ear bud and a guitar under one arm is trying to describe a woven grass handbag to the person on the other end of the line. A few stalls down, three ladies from Newport Beach are on separate cell phones trying to convince someone that they need a film reel of an alien movie as window dressing in a shop. For $30, the alien film is loaded onto their collapsible wire cart. “Please don’t tell anyone about this place!” one of them entreats me as they move on. They come every month at 6:30 a.m. and have already delivered several loads of purchases to the car.<br/>
“This is great,” says Charlie Mead, a first-timer from Irvine. “I’m going to come back every month. But next time I’ll bring a van!”

The Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market at Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium takes place the 3rd Sunday of every month from 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Serious contenders show up in the first hour when admission is $12 to get first shot at the merchandise. After 6:30 am, admission is $6. Parking is free.

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