From the live music to the food stalls, we asked one-half of Planet Green's "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," Brent Ridge, to shed some light on how to make the most of flea markets, while packing in all the shopping.
Schedule your day around others. "You want to think about how to avoid those crowds, so you want to plan your day a little bit off from everyone else's schedule," Ridge says. "So you might get there around 11 and sample some of the fair foods, and then when everyone else is standing in line for the food from 12 to 2, you're looking at all the booths without a crowd." However, if you're really looking to shop, arrive early to scoop up the best finds as Country Living's Sarah Gray Miller and HGTV's Cary Cucksey suggested early this week.
Be adventurous with food. Ridge notes that the unique comfort food offerings (fried butterball anyone?) are partly what makes flea markets and fairs special. "It's not a fair unless there's someone selling funnel cake," he says.
Use Social Media. Another great resource to use to get information about food vendors, performers and the type of items being sold is to search social media. Large flea markets will have their own sites, but even local fairs will have dedicated Facebook pages or Twitter hashtags. Ridge plans to interview a few dealers and do a Facebook tour of the fair while identifying some of the great finds at the Country Living Fair.
And, at the end of the day, you should feel worn out, Ridge says. "You have to feel exhausted. You have to have a little bit of a sun burn. You have to feel guilty for what you eat and, also, a little bit guilty by what you bought. I think that's what makes it perfect." What's wrong with a little self-indulgence?