When you plan to visit the Grandaddy of all Flea Markets you want to be prepared right? Of course you do. This guide will help veterans and newcomers shop the First Monday Trade Days in an enjoyable way. Canton, Texas home of First Monday Trade Days is spread across 160 acres with over 7,000 vendors. There is a lot to see and do here and a limited amount of time to do it in. You should expect to miss some things as First Monday really is a shopping extravaganza. These 25 tips for visiting Canton's First Monday flea market will make sure your trip is full of great memories.
23. Print a map of the trade grounds. Having a map will help you locate the booths you want to shop at and help you find your car when you are ready to rest.
22. Be prepared to drive slow. Canton, Texas can see as many as 500,000 tourists on a First Monday weekend. Most of these people are not local to the area and traffic jams are likely.
20. Shop the outdoor vendors early. If you shop the outdoor sales early you can move to the inside vendors when it gets hot. Most of the covered pavilions are air conditioned, a treat during the Texas summer.
19. Bring your own wagon or rent one. If you find a bunch of great deals it will be easier to pull them in a wagon. Sometimes the prices are too good to resist and you don't want to have to carry all that loot 28 miles.
17. Be prepared to walk. The First Monday trade grounds are 160 acres of vendors. The stalls are set up so that a person may walk 28 miles in one day.
16. Come early if you plan to rent a scooter. The First Monday trade grounds have scooter rentals inside most gates. These are rented on a first come, first served basis.
15. Get a vendors parking pass for big purchases. Most vendors can write a vendors pass so that you can drive up to the booth and retrieve your item. Plan to do this later in the day as people milling about will make it harder to get through.
14. If you want it, buy it. Canton First Monday sales are very hard to navigate for new visitors. There are over 7,000 booths on the trade grounds you may never find the item again.
13. Plan to shop for five hours. It will take you that long to just glance at the booths. If you are on a serious shopping trip plan for eight hours or the full weekend.
12. Reserve lodging in advance. Many people come to First Monday in Canton and like the festival atmosphere so much they decide to stay. While Canton has many hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts' these tend to fill quickly. You should reserve your lodging before you make the trip.
11. Remember Canton Texas is a small town. Canton is home to around 5,000 residents. During the First Monday weekend that number can balloon to half a million people. When you stop in at stores or specialty shops you may have to wait in a line.
10. If you are shopping for antiques and collectibles head to the Civic Center. While you can find these pieces throughout the First Monday Trade Grounds, the Civic Center is the official place for vendor's that sell them.
9. Bring plenty of cash. The vendors outside are not set up to take credit cards and very few will take checks (nearly no one). The vendors indoors typically have a merchant account and can handle credit or debit card purchases.
8. Carry a fanny pack. Canton's First Monday Trade Days is similar to the Texas State Fair. You should carry your valuables in a safe way.
7. No sales can be made before Thursday of the Trade Days weekend. First Monday starts on the Thursday (preceding the first Monday of the month) and runs until Sunday.
6. Bring a magnifying glass and magnet. This will help you in identifying metal goods.
5. Park only in designated areas. Parking is typically $4.00. Pay the fee and park in a safe spot. There is no FREE parking in Canton (NONE). Parking at a store, or on the street and walking away will get your vehicle towed.
4. Keep a close eye on children. There is so much to see and do at First Monday that children can wander off. First Monday staff can only make a loud speaker announcement in the case of a missing child or emergency.
3. Visit during the right season. If you enjoy cooler weather and don't mind the larger crowds shop during fall and spring. The summer Canton Trade Days season still has large crowds but it is typically easier to navigate through town during that time.
2. Thursday is deal day. Thursday opens the First Monday event and is a popular day to visit. Typically there are smaller crowds and you can locate hard to find items with little competition.
It has long been said that if you can't find it at First Monday it doesn't exist. Shoppers come from all over the country to enjoy the shows, food and display of wares. Be safe, and have a wonderful shopping experience when you visit Canton, Texas.