Tacoma isn’t Paris, but this Saturday, Tacomans will get their annual taste of a Parisian market at the 47th annual Women’s League Flea Market at the University of Puget Sound.
Dubbed the “Fieldhouse Full of Awesome Stuff,” the market was inspired by a League member’s visit to Paris in 1968, and has evolved into an all-day event showcasing the best of Tacoma’s vintage, repurposed and art-craft vendors. Added this year: food trucks, live music and a new early-bird entry.
“It’s one of the most longstanding of Tacoma’s traditions,” says co-organizer Lynn Raisl.
Yet it’s a tradition that’s changed a lot since Raisl took over a few years ago. She’s added local artists and craftspeople, scouting other local fairs and galleries to find them. This year the flea market will have more than 70 stalls, including print artists like Chandler O’Leary and Katie Dean, jewelry from Semilla and Dolcezza Designs, paper crafter Laurie Cinotto, food makers like Purdy Organics, Tease Chocolates and Valhalla Coffee, and many more.
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“Each year we’ve built on it,” Raisl says.
The biggest change this year is how early you can get inside. By popular demand, the market is selling “early-bird entry” tickets for $10 for entry between 8:15 and 9 a.m., when the market formally opens for $5 entries. Early-bird entry is by the side door, with access to the entire fieldhouse.
Also adding to the European atmosphere this year are food trucks: Ice Cream Social, Hometown Dogs and a BBQ truck will all offer food and drink, along with the indoor market café, now moved further back inside the fieldhouse. Rock-blues singer Kim Archer will play live outside from 1-2:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the event support scholarships for UPS students. Last year, the League offered $34,000 in financial aid.