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First Monday Finds

Tales and Treasures from Canton’s First Monday Trade Days.

by Christy W.

I’m so thrilled to be guest posting on Deep South! I’ve lived in the South all my life, slowly but surely shopping my way through some of its fabulous venues. Most recently, a friend and I made a girls’ weekend trip to First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. Canton is about one hour east of Dallas, tucked away right off I-20. The world’s largest outdoor trade days takes place Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of every month.

According to Canton’s First Monday website, “what started more than a century ago as a flea market has become home to some of the most exciting, cutting-edge home furnishings, antiques and collectibles that can be found anywhere.” The original First Monday Trade Days got their start in the 1850s when the circuit judge stopped in Canton on the first Monday of each month to hold court. People from all over Van Zandt County and beyond came out to watch, many bringing their own goods, like farm equipment and livestock, to sell or trade. As a result, Canton earned a reputation statewide as the best place to buy a horse.

One hundred and fifty years later, thousands of vendors from across the country still turn this friendly East Texas community into a shopper’s paradise for finds of rare antiques and collectibles, furniture, fine home decor, arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, tools, produce, and much more every month. If you plan on seeing as much as possible while in Canton, be sure and bring your most comfortable walking shoes in order to cover the more than 200 acres of vendor booths and boutiques.

Now, on to some of the loot we scored in May. Spring is a great time of year to buy plants and garden accessories in Canton. This jeweled iron fleur de lis garden stake looks great tucked in my hydrangeas:

We were seeing these old chairs painted up in fun colors and used as plant stands in several booths. I brought home a yellow one, and it’s become the perfect plant holder by the back door:

If you’re willing to do a little digging, spend some time visiting the outdoor booths for flea market finds. Sometimes you have to have a little vision when it comes to separating junk from treasure. Visit my blog to see in detail how my friend turned this plain ordinary shutter into a unique piece of art for her home:

If heat and sun isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are plenty of gems to be found under the shelter of the Trade Center, arbors and inside the air-conditioned Civic Center. Antique and vintage pieces abound, like this darling frame made from antique tin:

One of our favorite vendors was Laurie Anna’s Vintage Home, which had both a booth in the arbors and a store on the main Trade Days highway. Laurie Anna’s is a shabby chic heaven full of mercury glass, burlap and vintage-inspired linens, dining and garden items. Laurie Anna truly has a unique talent, not only for selecting beautiful merchandise, but for displaying it in an interesting and pleasing way. Here’s a couple of our favorite items:

If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood of Canton at the right time, I highly recommend stopping at the Trade Days. Or plan a special weekend trip before the first Monday of the month. Leave plenty of room in the trunk, pack those walking shoes, and get ready for a shopping experience you won’t soon forget!

If You Go:

The next First Monday Trade Days will be held from dawn to dusk June 3-6 at the First Monday Grounds. Look for the signs off I-20. A few tips from the First Monday website include downloading a map of the park and choosing a meeting place if traveling with a group, bringing cash, staying hydrated with water available for purchase in the park and knowing that if you find too many treasures to carry, scooters, wagons and shopping carts are available for rent. If spending the night, an RV park is located next to the Civic Center, and the city also has hotels and bed and breakfasts for guests.

Christy W. lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, and has a blog and Etsy store called Embellished Bayou, where she shares and sells her crafty ideas on sewing, decorating and DIY projects. Follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook!

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  • Christi Reierson / June 2, 2010

    excellent writing about decorating, it is actually useful for me. keep writing and happy blogging.

  • Cindy / September 2, 2010

    Very informative article about the trade days experience. I love your garden leur de lis garden stake. There’s always a bargain and something unique to find in Canton.