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Re-opened flea market a real hit

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:25 PM

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Juanita Badger couldn't wait for Saturday morning so she could attend the grand re-opening of the Airport Flea Market and Farmers Market on Spring Hill Drive.

The Brooksville resident got up early and by the time she arrived, before 9 a.m., the place was already quite packed with vendors selling their goods to enthusiastic customers.

"I've been waiting for (this) to open," said Badger, who picked out some sweet onions.

Badger said she will come here mostly for the vegetables, which she finds cheaper than area supermarkets.

New owners Nick and Vince DelCorso, along with friend Andy Orfitelli, planned for Saturday's opening for months. The market closed in 2007 after it had been a local favorite for 30 years.

Christie Cavallaro was one of about 100 vendors greeting the people Saturday. Cavallaro, selling books, jewelry and scrapbooking items, believes the bad economy is prompting people to look for deals.

"I was very excited," she said. "I was very anxious to see what this day would bring."

For Pete Fiumara, the day brought people to his food stall to sample some of the chicken, burgers, sausage and cheese steaks.

"I'm the chef," joked Fiumara, who planned to sell at least three dozen burgers Saturday.

Parking was at a premium Saturday as customers walked under the roofed market, stopping to view the fresh produce, crafts, books, tools and other assorted wares.

Fred Dry, propped on a table, said he scoured his home for stuff — mostly tools — to sell at the market.

"I sell anything that's possible and knock a buck off it, that's all," he said. "This is the stuff I had in my garage."

Maggie Columbo said the re-opened flea market gives people another alternative for their Saturdays.

"It's something to do for the people and they can get out," she said.

For Terry Williamson of Spring Hill, her visit was complete when she found an Oreck vacuum for $20.

"I can't believe it," a beaming Williamson said. "These things cost $300 new. It's a good deal even if it doesn't work."

Vietnam veteran John Riley Watkins entertained the crowds on the guitar and offered his CDs for customers.

Sitting on a chair, Watkins sang the Randy Travis hit, "Three Wooden Crosses," after which a fellow veteran stopped by to talk awhile.

Watkins, 72, said the flea market re-opening allows him the chance to meet people and sing.

"I enjoy what I'm doing and, at my age, it beats sitting on the couch," he said.

The Airport Flea Market and Farmers Market is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekend at 17375 Spring Hill Drive, west of U.S. 41 near the airport. (352) 544-5290

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