Community swap meet small-town tradition

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.

4 Responses to "Community swap meet small-town tradition"

  1. dan   November 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Nice swap meet fresh air and lotsa elbow room

  2. Linda   December 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I had a home in Anza for 22 years and once the swap meets started we didn’t miss one. There is a great sense of community involvement since people are rather isolated up there. Lots of fun and great people to get to know.

  3. Scott Lamb Jr   June 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I used to attend the swap meet every 1st and 3rd saturday of the month with my dad. I have many a memory there. We left when I was 11 (im 21 now) so I dont know what has changed. I always remember awesome antiques alomg with new items from local vendors. And the tamalies were to die for. I will always miss that place and the memories me and my pops made there. For the man (or woman) of simple pleasures, you will find good conversation, bartering, and ultimately fond memories that will never be forgotten. My dad bought me a PW80 CC dirt bike from there. You never know what you will find.

  4. Doris Hanlyn   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I used to attend the "Anza Swap Meet" as a vendor when I lived there. I now live in Arkansas and love it here, but I do miss my Saturday Swap Meets. Shared many good times with John and Doretha, along with all the other vendors. After a while you all feel like FAMILY.


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