I had literally been looking forward to this event all year - The 2019 Annual Jacksonville Beach Vintage Flea Market had finally arrived. This year the event took place on Saturday, October 12th, from 9am-3pm. And, competing for attention, the Jax Beaches Oktoberfest was taking place just down the street a bit - so there was definitely plenty to do in town on this long, three day, holiday weekend.
An open air sunny market complete with all kinds of vendors selling their treasures was an absolutely ideal Saturday morning for me. I grabbed the hubby and brought him along - with the promise of coffee - even though the promise of coffee was for myself too. I remembered last year that Chaunie’s Coffee Truck was at the market, and I had the best iced latte in the entire world while looking at all the various trinkets and furniture and art. But, alas, no coffee vendor this year at the Vintage Market. And I heard that Chaunie’s was over at the Seawalk Pavilion setting up at Oktoberfest this year. So coffee would have to wait for both of us until we were done browsing around.
However, there was a very small snack vendor selling to raise funds on behalf of the Fletcher High School Band. But I do think a coffee truck would have done great business that morning had they been there, as lots of folks had their Starbucks cups in hand while out shopping.
The market takes place up and down the blocks parallel the Beaches Museum. The streets are closed off to traffic and pedestrians are everywhere. We went fairly early just after it started at 9am, and the surrounding parking lots were already full. As we parked, shoppers were walking back to their cars with all kinds of neat finds; some things brand new, and some things very, very old.
I really enjoy that mix of old and new at this market as it provides something for most everyone’s tastes, interests, collections, and budgets. And for anyone with a creative brain, browsing through all the vendors can spur lots of ideas and inspiration. The other benefit of attending this market is its timing - it’s a fabulous place to find some holiday gifts and I was able to check a few items off my list while there.
For myself personally, I took home two very unique and homemade treasures that I know I will cherish forever. I absolutely love pottery and glasses and vases, and have an ever-growing collection in my home. For at least the last two years I had been on the lookout for the most perfect piece for the center of my coffee table. Shop after shop, market after market, over two years, I looked, and I patiently waited. I needed just the right thing, in just the right color. And I do believe it’s always worth the wait. I came upon Sea Le Vie, and it was there that my two year search ended in a flash. Before I even knew the price I said this was it. And my find was literally only $8.00. I have paid a whole lot more for mass-produced, not hand-made, pieces.
Plus, I was also able to speak to the creator. I think she was aware of how excited I was with my find, as she told me that she loves it when someone loves her work enough to take it home with them. I immediately understood her comment, as nothing brings me more joy than when I sell a painting to someone who is truly interested in what I paint; and loves and enjoys the art I create enough to hang it upon a wall in their own home. And her aqua painted glass piece that I purchased is now sitting in my home in front of me on the center of my coffee table - the most perfect piece that I am glad I patiently searched all over for, and ended up finding so close to home.
About half way down the block, and sitting strategically perfect amongst all of the many vendors is the Driftwood gift shop. This place is adorable and no visit to Jax Beach should end without at least a quick stop into this lovely store. Creative and colorful seasonal decor alongside a variety of unique merchandise from local creators on display, there are seemingly endless items to browse through and admire. And if you are looking for actual Driftwood - this is definitely the place to go.
Priced at $25.00, the second item I purchased at the market was a handmade coastal Bethlehem manger scene depicted with oyster shells, to add to my Christmas decor. I have been collecting oyster shells out on the beach since our move to Florida, so these pieces really caught my attention right away.
This type of shell happens to be my absolute most favorite item to collect from the sand. Well, I can’t forget about shark teeth - but those are like finding a needle in a haystack - in three years I have found a total of two. And I do need to give my hubby full credit on both those finds. But collecting unique treasures from the beach has become an utterly enjoyable hobby of mine. I quickly fell in love with the beauty and smoothness and texture of oyster shells and am in the process of collecting enough to make a wreath of them for my front door. So my eyes are always open to hunting out these unique finds; and then when I saw this booth, I was immediately and completely enthralled.
Specifically, the unique manger scenes really caught my eye upon first sight. The manger itself is made from driftwood. Various angels flying overhead, along with Mary and Joseph, are each represented by oyster shells of differing sizes, and set up in various ways and positions. The baby Jesus is represented by a most beautiful pearl, thus becoming the focal point of a breathtaking piece of hand-made, hand-crafted art. Then, the star above in the sky is represented by a starfish, but of course.
And since I was never able to find a just-right and oh-so-perfect manger scene in the past - one that would immediately catch my attention and my heart - I knew this was the piece when it spoke to me most promptly. Perfection - priced at $25.00 - and I could tell straight away they were all handmade with love.
I spoke to the vendor and I was so excited. Naturally I wanted to know if she sold online. She is a local retired school principal, and makes all her creations “just for fun.” And she is not interested in selling online as she doesn’t want it to become “too big of a thing.” Well, she definitely has something going on, and if she ever went online it would definitely become a thing bigger than it is, quickly. I thanked her and her husband for the most wonderful treasure I was able to take home with me that day.
Browsing through the Jax Beach Vintage Flea Market was a very successful and lovely Saturday morning outing. A fabulous way to enjoy a leisurely, peaceful, slow-paced, and local community event, it’s a great way to kick-start any holiday weekend. And you may just walk away with the most perfect trinket or treasure to enjoy for years to come in your home. For myself, I know it was an extraordinary morning adventure, and afterward...we were off to find some coffee. ~
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