After nearly a decade of dormancy, the Ohlone College Flea Market is returning on the second Saturdays of the month, starting this Saturday.
The Ohlone College Flea Market, which was started by the late Elaine Nagel in the ’80s, became a staple of the Fremont community, but was shut down in 2014 to allow for campus renovations. Now, with renovations complete and pandemic restrictions easing, the college leadership felt it was the right time to bring the market back, said flea market coordinator Van Tran.
“We are excited to bring the flea market back,” Tran said. “We want to bring life and excitement back to the community and the areas around here.”
The flea market is set to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month, starting March 11, in parking lots D and E, near the soccer field. Market-goers can expect to find about three dozen vendors selling crafts, collectables, jewelry, food and more. The community college is also set to have a few information booths at the market, along with Bay Area Community Health and community groups.
Some of the vendors used to sell at the flea market before it shut down, Tran said, “so they’re very excited that we’re bringing it back.”
Nagel started the Super Flea Market at Ohlone in 1986 and fought to keep the market alive in 2014, when the college’s administration said it was necessary to shut the market down to make enough room for construction equipment. At the time, administrators told The Monitor that the 28-year-old market could resume in about four years, though attempts to revive and rebrand the flea market since then have been unsuccessful. The COVID-19 pandemic also put a damper on efforts to restart the market, but with restrictions easing, people are excited for the return of community events, Tran said.
“People were stuck at home,” Tran said, “so one of the biggest things we wanted to bring back to the central area is life and foot traffic.”
Tran visited the flea markets at De Anza College and Chabot College and spoke with their organizers about building a successful flea market. They were excited that Ohlone is going to be back in the rotation, too, she said.
“It used to be De Anza was the first Saturday of the month, Ohlone was the second Saturday of the month and then Chabot College was the third Saturday of the month,” Tran said.
Tran said the goal is to have a couple hundred vendors by the end of the first year.
“It’s a small, humble start,” Tran said, “but it’s only going to get better.”