Van, Texas Dodges a Bullit

Our fair city, Van Texas, dodged a bullet last night.Tornados ripped thru Van Zandt County, wreaking havoc as they dipped and receded back into the sky.

The warning sirens went off around 5:30 p.m while the tv weathermen were telling all in Van to take shelter immediately. It was still light outside, so what did I do? I went out to look to see if I needed to rush into the bathroom where we had made a little nest.

Mother Natures fury could clearly be seen. Although no tornados were in sight, the clouds hung low and looked very ominous . Shades of green and black danced in the sky. Hail stones the size of nickels pounded the roof and air conditioners and rain pelted the windows. But just as quickly as it began it was over. We lucked out and didn’t hear the eerie sound of a train coming. That’s the sound I have heard when a tornado is just outside your door. Mother Nature sparred Van,Texas that night.

Not so true of Canton , Texas to our west. Or of the small communities of Sand Flats and Silver City to our north. Homes and businesses blown apart like a bomb had gone off. Clothes and children’s toys twisted and broken. hanging off limbs Trees that resembled match sticks were strewn across the landscape like they had just fallen out of the matchbox. Pieces of metal roofs laying twisted in the fields. Mother Nature at her wildest and most furious.

We treat our world like a trash bin and Mother Nature comes in with a blast and tells us we are just a small micro organism that she just lets live in her world. What’s that old saying? “Don’t fool with Mother Nature”. Last night truer words were never spoken.

Just 18 miles to our west and then 10 miles to our north,devastation ran rampant. So, yes, we dodged the bullet In Van, Texas.

The BEST Food is at First Monday, Canton Trade Days !

Canton Trade Days First Monday, the country’s oldest flea market, is widely known and appreciated for many reasons. There is even a parallel between Mardi Gras and First Monday. Everyone should experience each at least once. The next First Monday Trade Days will start on October 29 and go through November 1. This market is so Texas sized big that one can get lost while walking around the grounds.

First Monday Canton Trade Days

Wood working marvels, hats , clothes, music of all kinds, antiques ,hardware, candles, books, kitchen items, dishes, knick-knacks, saddles, tack, leather works and many many more items. But….the best thing for a lot of people, including myself,  is the FOOD!

First Monday’s Arbor Food Court, at the East entrance on Highway 19, which comes in from Interstate 20, sells everything from smoky barbecue and Greek salads to grilled corn and baked potatoes with all the fixings. The variety of foods is overwhelming. Homemade ice cream, to corn dogs and hand-cut fries, a delicious chicken fried steak to shrimp. Food concession vendors in the Original First Monday Park are cooking up something tasty for all shoppers, whatever their taste or preferences. My personal favorites are the crepes, especially the banana and chocolate crepes. Oooooooo….the food just boggles the mind!

Some of Canton Trade Days, First Monday’s other  delicacies that have become favorites of mine include fresh-squeezed lemonade, smoked turkey legs, funnel cakes (pancake-like batter drizzled into hot oil through a funnel and covered in powdered sugar), sausage on a stick,  kettle corn (mildly sweet popcorn), and wonderful homemade breakfasts. You can snack your way through or sit down to a complete meal. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the Canton Trade Days grounds… water, coffees, teas, soft drinks and fruit juices abound.

During  First Monday, Canton Trade Days, there are parking lots directly across the street. The normal rate for parking is $4.00 per vehicle. Be advised that there is no free parking on the streets near First Monday on Trade Days.

Once you leave First Monday head on over to visit my little city of Van, Texas. We are only a 10 minute drive and we have plenty of unique restaurants and lovely Bed and Breakfast’s that you can stay in. Come early, stay late!

About First Monday, Canton Trade Days

First Monday, Canton Trade Days, still going strong,  for 150 years..  Amazing!! Yes!!

In the beginning, people traveled from all around northeast Texas to meet in Canton to sell and swap horses, dogs, cattle and homemade foods at a flea market in front of the courthouse.  Today, First Monday,  Canton Trade Days, is known around the world as the Canton Flea Market, attracts as many as 10,000 vendors and covers over 28 square miles of walkways.

canton-trade-days-first-monday

Obviously, First Monday,  Canton Trade Days has outgrown their original place in the square in front of the courthouse. In the mid 1960’s, the City of Canton bought about 6 acres of land north of the courthouse and moved the Canton Flea Market away from the town square.

The flea market grew, and grew. And spread out. And flourished. For 150 years. Every weekend. Many claim that First Monday is the largest and oldest continually operated flea market in the United States. First Monday isn’t technically held on a Monday, but no one seems to mind.

First Monday , Canton Trade Days are held from Thursday to Sunday on the weekend before the first Monday of every month. It’s only 18 miles (a 10 minute drive) from Van, Texas. The outdoor vendors often set-up and begin selling as early as the Monday prior to the official First Monday weekend.

Thousands of vendors sell antiques and collectibles, jewelry and vintage clothing , arts and crafts, furniture, art, crystal, candles, candy, dogs, T-shirts, flower arrangements, cowboy hats, Texas stuff, DVD’s, plants and food. You can find just about anything at First Monday, Canton Trade Days.

The variety of food available at First Monday is amazing. Fried snickers , pork on a stick, hand cut french fries, corny dogs, and the most wonderful fruit crepes in the East Texas area!!

The flea market includes hundreds of  fresh vegetable stands and fresh fruit stands, in season.

A few tips : Dress for comfort, Saturday is the most crowded day, you can rent carts to lug your purchases around, reserve a space ahead of time for your RV,  best deals are in January.

In 2001, PBS featured Canton Trade Days in A Flea Market Documentary.

I can’t imagine anyone not being able to find something they want or need at First Monday, Canton Trade Days!

The next First Monday Trade Days in Canton is October 1st through October 4th, 2009.  Booths open 8am.