In the beginning, there was the Ballpark Market, a singular urban flea with a European ambiance. And not long after that, sisters Kim Dahlquist and Stacey Johnson begat A Paris Flea Market in downtown Littleton, bringing a similar concept to the the southwest 'burbs. And then, and then, and then. The proliferation of the concept proves how much we love our flea markets in the metro area, but no one can deny that they've become more regimented over time. And because Dalhquist and Johnson, who got of of the flea biz some years ago (A Paris Flea Market carries on at Aspen Grove, under different management), lament that local fleas now seem to have gotten more commercial and less folksy, they're back with a new concept from overseas: The British Car Boot Sale, at which vendors literally sell stuff out the trunks of their cars -- and then some -- in a form more closely related to the old-fashioned flea market of yore. "Boot," by the way, is British slang for a car trunk.
The first sale was at the Jefferson County Fairground, but a smaller, more intimate version set up for three days over the long Memorial Day weekend at the vacant Hilltop Motel in South Broadway in Englewood; we dropped by on Saturday for a taste of the British Car Boot experience. I have to say we liked it: It was the perfect meld of standard flea market, yard sale and tailgate party, full of schmoozing, bartering and bargaining galore. The old broken-down motel site was atmospheric, with its little garages and crannies, and it was easy to imagine it refurbished, with flower boxes and a coat of pink paint. Many of the folks who'd opened their boots and set up their tables said they were just there to see what it was like, and one can only hope they did well enough to consider doing it again.
Stacey and Kim, holding down the fort.
This seller's boot booty included handmade Calaveras-print market bags and jewelry.
While these two offered yards of vintage fabric.
One seller also provided impromptu entertainment.
We saw many wonderful wares, both wacky and whimsical.
Jewelry upcycler Elizabeth Marens put on her best Brit look.
This beautiful piece incorporated a vintage collar embroidered with gold and silver thread.
Or you could buy junk jewels to recycle on your own from another vendor.
And the opportunity to cozy up to William and Kate for a photo was complimentary!
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The Car Boot Sale's summer schedule is still in flux, but the next chance to sell or shop is on June 11 at the Village at Castle Pines, Highway 85 and Happy Canyon Road in Castle Rock, where Johnson promises lots of parking spaces (enough for up to 150 vendors) and, even better, free admission for buyers. Sellers pay $20 and are invited to arrive at 7 a.m. for setup; sale hours are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine. After that, nobody knows where the sale will continue just yet, but to follow the news, there's a website and a Facebook page.