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The Canton Flea Market at 50: Still Bringing Outside Money In

CANTON, Miss.–The Canton Flea Market is 50 years old and since it started it’s changed. It’s gotten bigger. But all the while, bringing thousands of people through the downtown Canton square has continued to bring money from inside and outside Mississippi to businesses, restaurants and gas stations.

“It started with 12 ladies hanging their paintings on the iron fence,” said Jana Padgett, with the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau, “and it’s turned into having over a thousand vendors.”

Padgett said one of the keys to the Flea Market’s continued success is its ability to draw people from all over the country. Thursday’s event was expected to bring in as many as 30,000, while the fall market sometimes brings in 50,000 people.


“Several years ago we gave a city in Louisiana a key to the City of Canton because their teachers would take off and declare it a holiday and come to the Flea Market,” said Padgett in aninterview on the Linda Allen Show.

What that translates into is dollars for businesses and tax dollars for Mississippi.

“It’s a great impact for all of our businesses, all of our gas stations, our restaurants by the interstate, because when you come to the Flea Market  You stop, get gas, get food on the way out of town.”

That applies to any business along the state’s main arteries on the way into Canton.

The Flea Market is not just bird houses and yard art. The variety is there with over a thousand vendors. Last year a company from Arkansas was selling purses made out of actual vinyl records and album covers.

That’s just one example of why the Canton Flea Market attracts so many people. Padgett said they also don’t charge a dime to shop.

“It’s entirely free. We just ask that people come and shop and stay all day.”


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