Bedford Flea returns to St Paul’s Square this weekend, and this year they have even more new stallholders, proving Bedford’s reputation as a thriving community of creative independent businesses.
The first market of the season takes place on Sunday 10 April, bringing together a smorgasbord of second-hand goods, talented artists, locally grown ingredients and homemade produce.
2022 sees market organisers Talia Giles and Laura Holmes hosting their biggest ever series of events.
“Bedford is living up to its reputation for having a thriving indie business community,” said market co-manager, Talia.
“This year we have 26 new grass-roots businesses to introduce across our eight dates with space to add more later in the year.
“It’s an incredible number considering these are skilled, hard-working individuals who don’t have bricks and mortar shops, that are having to compete in a difficult, and ever-changing retail climate.”
The headline ‘Flea’ section has almost doubled in size, with Laura and Talia attracting traders with high quality-vintage clothing, vinyl sellers, furniture, antiques and collectables for all budgets.
“The affordable art category is really exciting this year, with more male artists and exciting disciplines from street photography to etching,” said Talia.
There’s an Easter theme to this month’s local produce section, with loaded chocolate bars, dipped strawberries and bunnies from The Old Chapel Cake Co. There are jams and preserves, biltong and spice rubs and a new eco-friendly refill station by Doctors House.
“All this is on top of our alumni of market regulars such as grown-not-flown flowers from Hay Lane, Nutcellars, Bunty’s Bakes and the Harrold Cider Company.”
Co-manager, Laura Holmes, said: “As well as the public, the council have been incredible in their support.
“We have been fortunate to receive a grant following our application to the Town Centre Priority fund that will pay for our digital marketing push this year (last year we had zero budget). This is a much-needed addition to help fulfil our aim of becoming a destination market, pulling in crowds from neighbouring counties.
“But, the most-heartening news, is that we know we are making a difference to small businesses.”
Caution Vintage had their first ‘shop front’ experience at Bedford Flea in 2021 and went straight on to host a pop-up shop and now have their own permanent premises in Bedford’s Howard Centre.
“We know our formula works, that’s living proof,” said Laura.
“It would be wonderful to see more of our stallholders following suit this year.”
Other attractions on Sunday are a return visit from Pete Bacon of Fold Me Close, with his new pizza van ‘Pam’, a debut from Priscilla of Little Dutch Pancakes and her hot pockets of deliciousness and local singer-songwriter Amy Mason, who will be serenading shoppers for the day along with a couple of her musical friends.
The market runs on the second Sunday of the month, from April until November on St. Paul’s Square, Bedford, MK40 1SL.
Opening hours are 10am – 3pm.
There is free parking all day on Sundays in all council-owned car parks.