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Will Westside Flea Market Catch On?

If your taste in musical instruments leans retro, a visit to the Melrose Trading Post could be in order. There, one vendor has fashioned old cigar boxes into charming banjos and guitars. Talk about Depression-era cool. But then again, the Fairfax District flea market is far from typical. Unusual wares at the event include fossilized bones, vinyl records and retro furniture. Cartoonists, jewelers and glassblowers create what they sell right in front of customers. The market also has live music and food trucks. Now, finally, the Valley is going to get a chance to experience a bit of this Westside hip. The market is opening a second location at Taft Charter High School on Saturdays starting March 15. Some 240 vendors are expected to be on hand. “If you go to a nearby mall you probably won’t find the things that the locals are creating and selling,” said co-founder Pierson Blaetz. “You are truly shopping local when you are at our trading post.” The Taft location will charge $2 for admission, with the proceeds going to the high school’s booster club. For a vendor booth, Melrose Trading charges $40 to $70 dollars a day. “We try to keep our numbers lower than other flea markets in the area because we are weekly. These vendors are small businesses and many of them are startups trying to figure out if a product works or doesn’t work,” Blaetz said. “We want to support them with prices that allow them to make a living.” The location at 5461 Winnetka Ave. is near the San Diego (101) Freeway entrance and has more traffic than the Melrose and Fairfax intersection in Los Angeles. But in the end, it’s the ambiance that will determine the success of a flea market. “People come every week just to be outdoors, and there’s something about walking around and talking to vendors every week – it feels very communal,” Blaetz said. – John Saringo-Rodriguez

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