The CURE Insurance Arena parking lot was transformed into a Halloween market with over 150 vendors selling items from collector toys to gothic style cookware. Over two days this past weekend, the Punk Rock Flea market catered to shoppers who came from all over to explore a variety of niches.

Alex Newman, an attendee, found a second edition Edgar Allan Poe book from 1864 and purchased it for $100. “It is very old, very fragile and worth a lot more than I paid for it. The guy was like, I think I’m making a huge mistake, and I was like: I’ll take it! These things can go for…a couple $100, so might as well,” Newman said.

The crowd was a friendly welcome to most after being in quarantine for the past year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the flea market was held outdoors at the CURE Insurance Arena. “I feel like one thing that I missed with COVID is…casual human interaction. “Not everyone [is] always wearing the mask, and people are coming up to you and striking up a casual conversation,” Newman said.

Morgan Tomasko, an attendee, was dressed in black boots, ripped leggings, a white blouse, and a jean jacket filled with sowed-on patches and colors representing her favorite bands, artists and video games. She explains that patches are a cultural centerpiece for punk rockers. “It’s artwork, but in tiny form, and … everybody here is pretty friendly…”

When Tomasko first came to the flea market, it was intimidating, but she grew into the culture over the years. “There are incredible outfits, incredible artwork, incredible food, incredible music, everything, and on top of that, it’s a very welcoming community,” Tomasko said.

The most excited to be out and about are the vendors that occupy the flea market. Chelsea Schellenbargar, a vendor and owner of Catalyst Accessories, has been vending at the flea market since 2013. “While the pandemic has hit hard, fewer people are coming out…and it is different being outside,” Schellenbargar said. However, she is keeping her hopes up as the flea market continues pandemic or no pandemic. “I am so excited to be out here doing the things I love.”