The meat and potatoes of swap meets

Swap meets have been around for a long time. People used to come from miles around by horseback or wagon into town and spend all day buying, selling and trading everything from hogs to hay and sunbonnets to corn on the cob.

“A lot of people depend on the swap meet every week,” said Doretha Dungale, who, with husband John, manages the swap meet at the Anza Community Hall on Highway 371.

The swap meet brings vendors, their bargains and those interested in some friendly bartering and good old-fashioned community fun.

The Anza Community Swap Meet has been ongoing for 24 years, said Doretha, and it’s a pleasant outing for people to come together.

“The same people come every week,” she added. “We’ve made so many friends.”

Friends and all, many vendors and buyers feel the swap meet is a good central location for them to experience on a regular basis.

While vendors can have regular spots, buyers can depend on the vendors being in those spots every week.

Swap meets are known for selling used as well as new items.

Those selling used items can bring their old treasures to the marketplace instead of holding a garage sale.

Doretha agrees selling and buying used items at the swap meet is also easier for the buyer, because he doesn’t have to go from garage sale to garage sale.

It is even worth the $10 for Community Hall members or $12 for non-members per booth/table for sellers to pay.

Sellers also have the option of coming to the swap meet one time without an obligation to reappear weekly, monthly or yearly.

Winchester meet

Zeny Nichole Ward owns and manages the Winchester Swap Meet at 33280 E. Newport Road in Winchester.

She, too, considers swap meets necessary. “It is the only recreation facility for the weekend in this area,” she said.

Vendors at her swap meet also sell a mix of used and new items, authentic Mexican food, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more.

“Every vendor is displayed in an ample manner and central location,” she continued. “We have a park-like setting and try to keep it clean, which isn’t easy, but we try.”

Vendors come to Winchester as early as 5 a.m. to begin setting up while doors open at 6.

A tip from the wise, she added: “You need to come regularly and stay in the same spot, so customers get to know you. Some have been with me for all four years.”

Ward charges her vendors $30 per space.

Although Ward does not have any sheds located at vendor spaces available at the moment, Blanca and Angel Balencia find having this option makes their business at the swap meet easier.

The Balencias sell mainly sunglasses and a few clothing items.

Blanca said they price their sunglasses at $5 to $7 each, and being able to sell them at such a low cost depends what they pay for the item.

Winchester attracts buyers and sellers near and far.

Anna and Jerry Abston from Hemet came last Saturday, saying they really enjoy this swap meet.

“We come every weekend, usually on Sunday,” said Anna.

Jerry admitted he’d seen better days, though. “The economy has really got things down,” he said.

Even during these hard times for many, the couple is keeping an upbeat and hopeful attitude. For those looking for a bargain, they recommend going to swap meets in general.

Many locals in the Temecula Valley and surrounding cities are happy when a swap meet opens in their area.

Lake Elsinore meet

In December, Marketplace at The Diamond opened at the Lake Elsinore stadium. The response from the community has been positive.

There are rules to abide by at the Marketplace. For instance, vendors planning to sell more than twice in a 12-month period must obtain a valid California Resale Permit number from the State Board of Equalization.

They must also be at their spot by 7 a.m. If late, there is a penalty of $10 and the vendor must be ready to sell by 8.

Sellers must clean up all trash within their designated space before departure at the end of the day.

Every vendor must have some sort of shelter or canopy that has been approved and must have some kind of table or shelves for items being sold.

No weapons, alcoholic beverages, “adult” material, drugs or drug paraphernalia may be sold.

There are also swap meets in Perris and San Jacinto, Los Angeles and Orange County and down in San Diego.

For additional information about the Marketplace at The Diamond visit, or call (951) 235-4770.

The Winchester Swap Meet can be reached at (951) 926-8621.

For more on the Anza Community Swap Meet, contact the Dungales at (951) 763-0410.

To comment on this article online, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.