Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Tailgate Flea Market takes over Main Street Cape

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Mike Smith and his dog, Mitt, at their vending booth.
Photo by Daria Lawson ~ Arrow Reporter

Downtown Cape Girardeau was filled with antique buyers and sellers Sunday, Oct. 7, for the annual Tailgate Flea Market.

Held on Main Street, the market contained over 50 vendors selling a vast assortment of items including novelties, antiques and food.

Paula Haas, one of the market organizers, said the event has grown dramatically over the years, and that both vendors and buyers continue to come from places further away to attend.

The vendors offer a variety of items, however, they manage to share a similar sentimental feeling when it comes to these belongings.

Mike Smith, a vendor from Kentucky who attends markets for a living, said there is a level of nostalgia that comes every time he sells.

“Most of the items I have for sale were taken from my dad’s garage, and after raiding through them I’m reminded of memories of my dad and my childhood,” Smith said.

David Lysakowski, who sells items, such as records, cassettes and CDs, said there is nostalgia in making purchases, too.

“When I buy something I often remember purchasing it originally, years ago, for the first time in a record shop, or going to music stores with friends in the past, sometimes songs even remind me of friends that have passed,” Lysakowski said.

These memories that shared a sense of nostalgia helped create a welcoming environment among buyers and sellers. The vendors believe socializing is key to making sales — an added bonus to the job.

Lysakowski worked at a record store in St. Louis in the late ‘70s, and has been collecting records for over 40 years. He describes himself as having music “in his blood” and said he loves to come across people with the same attachment.

He explains that flea market social settings are unique in that they are a place where you have the ability to make instant friends through cherished items.

“You get the opportunity to share interests, passions and tell stories with fellow collector friends and customers,” Lysakowski said.

Other vendors also value the social interaction with prospective buyers.

“There's tons of social connection all the time. You make lots of friends, meet new vendors to buy and trade from, and you get to have genuine conversations with people that share similarities that relate back to old times,” Smith said.

The Tailgate Flea Market is open to all buyers and sellers.