Island Treasures

The Flea Market on Treasure Island, San Fransisco, CA.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Commerce is a great cultural revealer. How and where we spend speaks volumes and eats volumes of our time and thought. Count yourself a Quirk if you ever venture out of the usual ingrained loop of daily activity to do your shopping at the blissful mayhem of one of the over 1100 flea markets in the US.  One of the most interesting locations for a Flea Market is found in the heart of Quirkutopia, on Treasure Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

Good morning, vendors! Treasure Island is home to the 40’ Bliss Dance statue of a metal mesh woman who dances over the Flea Market in array of orchestrated lights with bridges and the City skyline behind her. Photo by Heather Granahan

We planned to visit the island for a weekend immersed in the swap meet culture of the monthly Treasure Island Flea Market. Imagine our excitement when we found that only vendors are allowed to camp on the island! We purged our odd antiques and grabbed a tent and a bottle of wine and were off. We joined the array of characters setting up in the dawn in front of abandoned military buildings.

Big gal: the 7000 lb gal Bliss Dance has wandered from the Burning Man festival to her home on Treasure Island under the watchful eye of her creator, Marco Cochrane. Photo by Heather Granahan

The market is open! Let the treasure hunting begin.                                 Photo by Heather Granahan.

Market victuals are offered by an array of upscale food trucks – elk and buffalo sausages! Fries with truffle aoli! Lemongrass chicken or veggies! Empenadas! Build-your-own-salads! And yes, burgers and much more.)                           Photo by Heather Granahan

Tasty wine is served by the winery located on the island. It is NorCal, after all.  Photo and subsequent purchasing by Heather Granahan

The market is very dog-friendly for visitors, with a water-and-milkbone station provided. Photo by Heather Granahan

One of the treasures at the Treasure Island Flea Market. The one –footed man seems fated to drive the one-eared donkey.                                   Photo by Heather Granahan

This 1800’s mandolin was sought after by two folks. The Aussie gal ended up purchasing it and handing it to the other would-be-buyer, a mandolin restorer, to fix for her and mail Down Under when he finished. A new adventure for this old instrument.                                     Photo by Heather Granahan

More treasures. That jar filled with cookies would make a nifty gift…          Photo by Heather Granahan                   

Evening, and time for the vendors to get tucked in for the cool evening following a 70%F November day. Photo by Heather Granahan

 The vendors’ choices of bedding reflect the many interesting characters who choose the lifestyle of roving merchandisers. Is this pole askew or is it just the camper? Photo by Heather Granahan

These intrepid vendors opt for the $30 hotel room, sleeping in their rented trailer. Photo by Heather Granahan

By day she reigns over the flea market and by night her multicolored shifting illuminated dance amazes the camping vendors as they sip wine and watch the huge cargo ships slide by. Photo by Heather Granahan
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