More shopping? Why not? say Palmetto's Midway Flea Market customers

skennedy@bradenton.comDecember 30, 2013 

PALMETTO -- Just a few days after the end of the Christmas shopping rush, crowds of shoppers were browsing, and yes, buying Sunday at the Midway Flea Market.

Not at a touted Big Box post-holiday sale. At a flea market.

An estimated crowd of close to 2,500 wandered the premises at 10816 U.S. 41 North near Palmetto checking out a wealth of items for sale.

Everything from fancy shirts and jeans to boots, hats, great mounds of produce, childrens' toys, jewelry, antiques and many culinary treats were available.

"We enjoy this place. It's nice," said Octavius Maguirre, 36, of Bradenton, who bought shoes.

With him was Calvin Maina, 29, also of Bradenton, looking for shirts and jeans.

"We love good deals, and they have good deals here," said Maina.

Oswaldo Perez, 55, of St.

Petersburg, said he visits the flea market occasionally just to spend a relaxing day.

Although a light rain fell outside, it was cozy inside, where 250 vendors hawked their wares.

"It's been kind of slow because it was raining," said Antonio Santamaria, who was selling inventory similar to what he carries at Botas Hermanas Western Wear, 1128 Eighth Ave. W., in downtown Palmetto.

Some customers seemed to be out of money after Christmas spending, Santamaria said, but he predicted their purchasing power would return with the next payday in a couple of weeks.

Vendors selling fireworks were popular with shoppers. Looking over great piles of bottle rockets, Jose Cruz and Frankie Vargas helped customers pick out fireworks for banging New Year's celebrations.

"We're OK," said Cruz of Bonita Springs, when asked how business was.

Giovanni Palacios operates the market year-round from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Some booths are occupied regularly by certain vendors, while others change hands every weekend, he said.

"They sell everything you can think of," Palacios said with a smile.

Two Manatee County sheriff's deputies working off-duty providing security looked pretty laid-back.

"There's never any problem," said deputy Steve Litschauer.

Many families wandered the market corridors.

Luis and Maria Lopez of Bradenton carried bags bulging with fruits and vegetables. Three bright-eyed daughters, Emily, 10; Nancy, 9; and Yocelin, 6, trailed behind them.

Said Luis Lopez, "I come every week."

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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