Hidden Gem: Well worth a rummage

Flea MarketZabeel Park’s flea market, which operates on the first Saturday of each month, is open from 8am-3pm

Weird as well as wonderful items ranging from mannequins and Second World War memorabilia to genuine antiques and cheap furniture can be discovered in Dubai’s flea markets.

In cities such as Paris, London and Charlestown in the US, regular flea market treasure hunters sift through tables loaded with second-hand items and handicrafts.

Finding what they call treasure and what other people label junk is a major part of the fun, says Nicholas Martin of Flea Market Insiders, an online reference for vintage and antiques shopping. “The most valuable items are not those that you think will be valuable for resale. The really priceless things are the objects you personally love.”

In Dubai there are four regular flea markets operating from October to May. Brought to the Dubai community by Green Spot Entertainment, founder Melanie Beese established these venues to provide a platform for private individuals to sell only used goods or home-made crafts on a noncommercial basis. Retailers are prohibited, as is the sale of fake items. Flea market is a famous concept in Europe and that gave Beese the idea to set up one in Dubai. The UAE provides an ideal venue, she says, because its residents like shopping and many expatriates stay for only a few years and have to get rid of their paraphernalia when their contracts end.

The German entrepreneur adds that flea markets are ideal for bargain hunters as well as those who believe in sustainability and recycling. She started the Dubai Flea Market concept five years ago and it has attracted as many as 15,000 visitors to some venues. Items that can be found on sale include household goods, home appliances, furniture, textiles, ceramics, electrical equipment, toys, games, books, DVDs, clothing, antiques, accessories and handicrafts.

“The flea market is an outdoor shopping experience offering an opportunity for the community to come together,” she says.

“It’s a place where people can talk to each other, make new friends and enjoy a laidback atmosphere.”

The emirate’s newest flea market is held every third Saturday of the month at Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) Park. Located near the Aqua Fun area in JLT, its open from 1-5pm. Zabeel Park’s flea market operates on the first Saturday of each month from 8am-3pm and will be held again on February 7, March 7, April 4 and May 2.

In Uptown Mirdif, the flea market is held on the second Friday of each month from 2-7pm, the next one happening this Friday, and then on February 13, March 13, April 10 and May 8.

At Ibn Battuta Mall, there’s a shaded flea market on the rooftop of the car park in the Tunisia Court (behind the large Géant signboard) from 1-5pm on the second Saturday of every month. The next one is on Saturday, February 14, March 14, April 11 and May 9.

In November last year, Nakheel renewed its partnership with the Dubai Flea Market for a second season. A spokesman for the property developer said, “Ibn Battuta Mall has already proved an ideal venue for the Dubai Flea Market, particularly for people living in the Al Furjan, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens and Jebel Ali Village communities. More than 2,000 people attended each flea market held at Ibn Battuta last season.” The cost of a stand at any of the venues is Dh270.

Tips for success
• Get there early
• Carry cash and lots of small change
• Bring a carry bag
• Arrive at the location with an idea in mind
• Work along the lanes or rows systematically
• Look for the best bargain tables
• Arrive with an appropriate vehicle for what you hope to pick up
—By Ashley Miller of Flea Market Insiders

Sellers need to register at Dubai-fleamarket.com and can pay online or via a cash pick-up service

Source: Cheryl Robertson, Features Writer, Property Weekly

This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct in their own way. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If it’s got character and brings a smile to your face, it’s a hidden gem that will find a place on this page. If you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at enag@gulfnews.com

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