DFW is a great area to get your thriftin’ and junkin’ on. Some of the oldest, biggest and best Trade Days events can be found within the metroplex or just a relatively short drive away. Most urban centers and larger suburbs don’t have trade days, so don’t feel bad if you don’t know what they are. Here’s our list of best trade days in DFW.
Canton shoppers’ tools and equipment
History of First Monday
So why are they called “First Mondays”? Trade Days are a mostly southern tradition that started sometime in the 1800s (or possibly earlier). In those days, many towns were too small to have their own court and judge. State judges often made a circuit of the county seats to deal with all of the legal business in the county. Apparently, court dates were often on Mondays (whose idea was that?!?) and that’s why modern-day trade days are often labeled “First Monday.”
Everyone who had business with the judge (or wanted to follow the legal activity and catch up with their neighbors) came to town for First Monday. Since this was before cars existed, folks loaded up their wagons and used the town square gathering as a means to barter any excess goods their household produced for other things they might need. It wasn’t all that rare for folks to trade a pig or a chicken for repairs to their wagon or farm equipment.
Don’t let the names confuse you—none of our area trade days in Dallas are actually on Monday. What they mean by first (and second, and third) can be confusing too, so be sure to check the websites and have your dates down before heading to one of these magical shopping fests.
Funny, It Doesn’t Feel Like Monday
Oldest in the Area, Frequently Named the Biggest and/or Best in America
Canton’s First Monday Trade Days
Canton’s First Monday Trade Days got started in 1850. Over the years, the trading event outgrew the town square (by a lot!) In the 1960s, Canton’s Trade Days moved to a permanent home in a city-owned, six-acre event park.
Shoppers in Canton will find shopping of all stripes in indoor and outdoor booths plus a Civic Center building filled with collectible and antique vendors.
Event Dates: The Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of every month
Where’s Canton?: Canton is about 60 miles east of downtown Dallas.
On the Tarrant County Side
Weatherford’s First Monday Trade Days
Weatherford’s trade days event is one of the largest outdoor markets, part of what they used to call “Stray Days.” It’s still held on the courthouse square. Offerings include traditional trade days items (vintage knick-knacks, art, craft items, clothing and accessories) this market also features livestock, plants and farm/ranch equipment. They also have food trucks, yum!
Event Dates: The Friday through Sunday before the first Monday of every month.
Where’s Weatherford?: Weatherford is about 30 miles west of Fort Worth.
A Little Further Out
Bonham’s Trade Days
Bonham’s Trade Days are pretty convenient because if you didn’t make it to Canton (or did but didn’t find the treasure you were after) you can head to Bonham the next weekend. The town claims their trade days are among the longest-running in North Texas. Vendor booths carry traditional vintage and antique finds plus tools and small livestock. Food vendors offer goodies like corn dogs and lemonade.
Event Dates: The weekend after the first Monday of every month.
Where’s Bonham?: Bonham is about 53 miles northeast of Plano.
Bowie’s Second Monday Trade Days
Also established in 1890, Bowie’s Second Monday is one of the largest flea markets in North Texas. The five-acre lot houses over 450 vendor booths. In addition to traditional vintage and antique finds, Bowie’s market offers modern-day items like video games and cell phone accessories.
Event Dates: The Saturday and Sunday before the second Monday of every month. (Some vendors open Friday evening as well.)
Where’s Bowie?: Bowie is about 56 miles northwest of Denton.
Another Long-Time Tradition
McKinney’s Third Monday Trade Days
McKinney claims to have the oldest and largest flea market in North Texas – theirs did get its start in 1870. With food booths like you’d find at a carnival (or the State Fair of Texas), the monthly event is as much a town social as it is about selling. The market offers a mix of antique and modern items as well as a large selection of home and garden décor. You’ll also find clothing, accessories, and health and beauty items.
Event Dates: The Friday through Sunday before the third Monday of every month.
Smaller Market, Bigger City
Garland’s Urban Flea
While not called Trade Days, this flea market qualifies as a trade days event since it’s only held once a month. This one, however is only held on Saturdays from 9AM to 4:30 PM. Check the dates on their calendar to see which Saturday it’ held and get ready for a fun day in historic downtown Garland. In addition to shopping handmade and antique items at vendor booths, you can check out small, locally owned shops and restaurants in the area too.
Event Dates: One Saturday a month, most months of the year. Check the website for specific event dates.
Every Weekend Flea Market
Since I didn’t find any Fourth Monday events and some of these are a ways away, I’m throwing in a giant flea market. Flea Markets and Trade Days are very similar, with the main difference being that Trade Days typically happen only one weekend a month. Trader’s Village is open every weekend.
Traders Village in Grand Prairie
In addition to flea market finds, you’ll find all manner of carnival-style retail and food offerings here. They have carnival rides too, and it’s not unusual to see events on the calendar for all kinds of festivals and special days. Parking is $4.
This is only the beginning of antiquing and junking options in DFW. There are countless antique malls, bazaars, and thrift stores where you can find trade day-worthy treasures every day of the week. We’ll look into a post about some of the best ones, but for now, make your way to the trade days nearest you.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas and these great community sales events make that point well. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Many but not all vendors accept cards, and parking is sometimes extra.
Did we miss any of your favorite local Trade Days? Do you prefer to go antiquing and junking in permanent stores? Sound off in the comments or on our Facebook page.