The Really Really Free Market

I have always wanted to check out the Really Really Free Market because, although it’s been listed on the Free Fun Calendar for ages, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was.  I pictured a bunch of people sitting around with things they had brought from home to trade for new treasures, kind of like a swap meet.  It only rolls around once a month so this weekend, at long last, we made the time to go.  But before we could shop, we needed to eat.

On Sunday afternoon, my son and I met my friend Melissa (@PollinateAtx) at the HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) Farmer’s Market.  HOPE happens every Sunday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Update: since writing this post, HOPE has moved to Plaza Saltillo).  It’s free to visit of course, but not really, really free – particularly if you take a hungry 9-year-old boy with you!  We loaded up on everything from an eggplant plant for our garden to vintage upcycled button earrings (which I guess I can’t blame on the boy).  Once we were fully fueled with hibiscus tea and mango pie, we headed over to Chesnut Community Park for the Really Really Free Market.

The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Free Fun in Austin calendar is only for live digital events at this time.

Here is what we discovered.  The market is basically a garage sale where everything is free.  Sponsored by Treasure City Thrift, the goods are mostly leftovers from the thrift store’s monthly 25¢ sale.  This month, the market consisted almost entirely of clothing.  You can bring items to contribute, but it is not required. I brought a few donations along and was a hesitant shopper at first, taking only a few articles of clothing for my kids.  But after speaking with the organizer, I realized that they wanted me to take as much as I could use.  This was the last stop for the clothing and they weren’t going to be taking any of it back to the thrift store.  With free license to load up, I ended up with two bags of clothing, including a gorgeous wool winter coat for me (that needs a little dry cleaning TLC) and two brand-new-looking pairs of shoes for my daughter.

The Really Really Free Market is held on the last Sunday of every month, excluding December, from 1 – 3 p.m. Try to get there early, for the best selection.  The market is located in Chesnut Community Park, which is handy because there is a playground for the kids and a seasonal splash pad (currently not operational, but hopefully it will be turned on again soon).

For more information on the Really Really Free Market, visit the Treasure City Thrift website.  

Chestnut Community Park 
2207 East 16th St (at Chestnut St).
Austin, Texas



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