Woodstock has the distinction of being home to a Saturday selling event for 100 years.
According to Janine Fallon-Mower’s American Tapestry, the Mowers of Maple Lane, published by Anam Cara Press in 2007, “Ethel Peets, a member of the Woodstock Club, developed the idea of Saturday Market Fairs in 1917 as a way to raise money for the Red Cross. Ethel and another club member Marion Eames set about gathering a group of volunteer workers to run a street fair, patterned after similar fairs that were run in Europe. Table sellers, as they were known, set up on a vacant lot behind the village green in an area now occupied by the Garden Café.”
The events moved to various spots over the years, and in 1974 “Ralph Tripico, local antique dealer approached John Mower about renting the family property on Maple Lane. The lot had been vacant since the homestead was torn down in the summer of 1970. They reached an agreement and Ralph managed the Saturday Markets on Maple Lane for two years.”
And that could have been it.
But “One morning, over coffee at Gene Myers Corner Cupboard, Bill Lubinsky approached John Mower with the idea of continuing the Saturday Markets on Maple lane. Bill was one of the dozen or so vendors, and his specialty was Woodstock Festival tee shirts and spinning tales about the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Essentially, Bill asked John, ‘So when are you opening the market?’ ‘Well, what do you mean?’ John replies. Bill asks again, ‘When are you opening the market?’ This time, John’s reply is ‘well, when do you want me to open up…?’ And on Memorial Day Weekend, 1977, the Mower’s Saturday flea market was born…”
And now, 40 years later, John and Janine Mower and family will be celebrating these four decades of flea marketing in Woodstock beginning with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 24, and festivities that will follow throughout the day.
They’ll have a balloon release at 11:15 a.m.; a dedication of a Maple Lane historical/interpretive sign by Woodstock Town Historian Richard Heppner at 11:30 a.m.; Brian Hollander, Tim Kapeluck and Geoff Harden will be on site playing music at 2 p.m.; at 2:30 p.m. there will be cake, lemonade and ice tea; and at 4 p.m. there will be a Parade of Happy Faces and a Closing Ceremony to celebrate the event, which has been mentioned twice in the Top 10 Fleamarkets by Fodors.
And there will be a History Tent, with photos depicting Maple Lane/Deanies Alley in the early to mid 20th Century.