In many small towns across America the common question asked by those passing through is “What is there to do around here?” The answers vary depending on location, resources and creativeness of its residents.
This Saturday, Aug. 2, is a day locals attend the swap meet.
For the small town of Anza, population approximately 9,000, the answer “the Anza Community Swap Meet” mixes location, resources and creativeness with a little bit of necessity to create a community tradition for its residents and a favorite Saturday morning getaway for neighbors in surrounding areas.
Held the first and third Saturdays for the past 17 years, at the centrally located Community Hall on Highway 371, the swap meet brings vendors, their wares and those interested in a good buy together for some friendly bartering, deal-making and good old-fashioned community fun.
“We really look forward to setting up our booth next to neighbors we have been selling with for years,” said Doretha Dungale, who, along with her husband John, began and manage the swap meet. “Many of the vendors have been with us since the beginning. We have made a lot of friends since the first one.”
The Dungales saw the need for the residents of this rural, nearly isolated town to have a day set aside to peddle their many crafts, arts and just plain old stuff with reasonable booth/table rates and without the expense of travel or the major rates at the big swap shows.
Locals sell everything from axles to tires and, unlike many of the city swaps, animals of all shapes and sizes are regularly on display.
The event has grown steadily since its opening weekend, now attracting many vendors and visitors from other locations, especially the seasonal boutiques held during the holidays.
For instance, at the last meet, the Bart family, traveling through on their way to visit an aunt in Palm Desert, saw the signs and decided to stop. Melinda Bart was interested in the many homemade crafts on display while husband Herb was browsing the tool tables.
“I am a collector of antique farm equipment,” said Herb. “With all the rich history still alive in this town it is a reasonable deduction there would be tons of antiques for collectors like me.” Herb and Melinda found several items that interested them.
As mentioned, the Anza Community Swap Meet is held the first and third Saturdays (rain or shine) at the Anza Community Hall in the center of town on Highway 371. Hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Booth/table prices are (inside or outside) $10 for anyone with a Community Hall membership and $12 without. Outside locations are first come, first served until the site fills up. Inside must be by reservation. All vendors except certain food items are welcomed.
For more information or to reserve table space, contact John or Doretha Dungale at (951) 763-0410.