What’s a Swap Meet?
With a name like “Swap Meet Farmers Market” (huh?) I knew I had discovered something weird and wonderful. I initially wondered – what gets swapped? Who meets farmers? And, upon visiting their webpage – what’s the story behind the goats on those stairs to nowhere?
Luckily, owner/operator Chuck Gow was easily available to answer my questions and tell me more about the Market that he and his wife Melanie have recently reinvented.
First off: it turns out that a ‘swap meet’ is actually just a type of flea market. Swap meets are also akin British “car boot sales,” at which people sell miscellaneous stuff out of the trunks of their cars.
The Gows enable a thriving swap meet by renting out cheap space to anyone, for $25 per weekend. “People can pretty much bring anything – arts and crafts, antiques, books, whatever – and we rent them a table and they sell their stuff.”
And thanks to the a “swap” element, visitors can choose to trade instead of using money – as long as they can find a vendor who needs what they have, and has what they need. One place where it seems to work well is the used book stands, but I challenge you to bring home made chowder or your last year’s Halloween costume and Twitter me photos of what you swap them for.
I was distracted by the swap part (and the free petting zoo and cotton candy), but of course there’s a farmers’ market too. Calgary Yelp users have posted exclusively good reviews:
- “The Farmer’s Market has it all. They have an extensive selection of organic produce that beats anything you might come across in a local supermarket” – Chad W.
- “The produce is fresh, and one place (forgot the name) has a deal where you can fill 3 bags for $10, which is an amazing deal. The berries… were far better then the rotting, or ripe produce at the grocery store and actually slightly cheaper” – Sarah T.
Finally, there’s the Night Market. The Gows experimented with their first Night Market earlier this month, with live music, open fires, and Christmas lights everywhere for a “Christmas in August” theme.
“The Night Market was off the chain,” said Gow. “It was such a hit. We were just trying it, but people loved it.”
Follow them on Twitter to find out about the next Night Market. “We’re going to try ‘Halloween in September,’” said Gow.
The Calgary Swap Meet Farmer’s Market is open from July until Thanksgiving, on Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.