There was a time in my life when I associated the word flea with filth. No one likes when their dog gets a case of the fleas (it is the worst), and for most of my life any flea market I went to was dirty, full of used garbage, and left me going home smelling like a mixture of rotten produce and a barnyard explosion.
When I moved to Cleveland I spent quite a bit of time looking into neat things to do around the city. I’ve always loved to explore the culture where I live and try/visit new things or places that are hidden gems of the city. I knew about some of the more obvious cultural musts in Cleveland: The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, the museums, the West Side Market to name a few….but as I started to look around one summer event kept popping up everywhere I looked: The Cleveland Flea.
Immediately I thought back to my previous flea market experiences and cringed. I’m not one who likes second hand items or garage sales, and to me flea markets are larger versions of those things. I resisted going the first few opportunities I had to attend one, then finally decided I would go. At least I could say I checked it out, right?
The Cleveland Flea takes place once a month from June to October in the Asiatown neighborhood of Cleveland and exists with the mission to promote small businesses in the area. The Cleveland Flea, much difference from the other fleas I have been exposed to, is actually a small business incubator. While there are some vintage vendors, the majority are local Cleveland businesses eager to get their products in the hands of the nearly 10,000 visitors that check out the flea each year. The vendors range from clothing to succulents to dog treats to my favorite local vegan donuts from The Vegan Doughnut Company…..and the food trucks and options for feasting are out of this world.
Last weekend was the first flea of the year, so I had to go. Luckily one of my bffs Melissa was free to go with me and check it out for the first time!
I never go to the flea looking for any specific item…..that way i have zero expectations, but I do look over the vendor list before I go. When I saw my donut friends were there, that was the first stop for us….luckily they were right inside the gate! I know from experience that they sell out every time, and I wasn’t going to miss out! The glazed twist is a classic favorite, but I had to snag a strawberry shortcake and a few cookies and cream! I cannot tell you enough how tasty these donuts are…..and in case you forgot, I’m not vegan and no, you can’t tell that the donuts are.
One of my favorite finds at the flea: these super cute dish towels! Notice how many of the things i love involve foods??? I love the simplicity of the black and white, which matches my kitchen perfectly.
One absolute must when at the flea: wear elastic waist pants. No jeans. You’ll eat a lot, trust me on this. I was excited to see one of my favorite food trucks, The Funky Truckeria, in attendance…..their tacos and goat cheese risotto balls are the dreams are made of!
Mark your calendars for July’s Flea on the 14th….you don’t want to miss it! I’ll see you guys there!