By Robby Osborne
How many flea markets have a time limit? The MV Big Flea does, and if an item isn’t sold by 12:15 p.m., it’s free.
The re-purposed Mount Vernon Recreation Center will hold a year’s worth of donations, waiting to be sold this Saturday, April 26. The market sells donated furniture, housewares and everything else that’s been donated and picked up by volunteers throughout the year.
The market is comprised of four stages: At 7 a.m., bargain hunters get a one-hour head start for the market for $10. Admission into slightly-picked-over market is free after 8 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., people will be ushered out for a raffle, allowing volunteers to cut all prices in half, and again at 12:15 p.m., where volunteers mark every item as free.
“People are running and scampering for stuff that nine days out of 10 you wouldn’t even look at,” said Art Witebsky, vice president of fundraising for the MV PTA. Everything that’s left by 1 p.m. will be junked and taken way.
The MV Big Flea is entirely staffed by volunteers. “Gentle Giants, a moving company, donates their truck to us, as well as four laborers,” said Witebsky. “I won’t call them hired-help because they’re so gracious. Every year we’ve been doing this they’ve donated their help and their truck.”
Witebsky also commended the work of Caroline Jackson and Stephanie Sample. Jackson coordinates the entire volunteer effort, and with Sample handling every donation, Witebsky said the pair were integral to the event’s success.
The MV Big Flea has brought in more than $150,000 since its inception in 2007. Having already almost $10,000 this year, Witebsky expects that the Big Flea will help earn an additional $10,000 to $20,000.
The money generated by the big flea has typically gone to filling out the PTA budget. However in the last year, “there has been a focus of getting the playground and play area fixed and improved, which will cost anywhere from $75,000 to $200,000,” said Witebsky, who hopes that money earned from the Big Flea will continue to support larger projects.
Mount Vernon Community Center
2701 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, 22305
April 26, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; $10