By Woodrow Polston
As the summer comes to a close, the flea market held at the Vandalia Area Fairgrounds approaches the end of its first year, with the last event being scheduled for October. Open to the public twice a month, the flea market has continued to attract both vendors and customers since June, and the number of each group has steadily grown. One of the new vendors was offering fresh-cooked breakfast and lunch items out of their custom mobile kitchen.
“We just started our business, ‘The Meal Mobile’ about a month ago,” said Allen Heaston. “We are serving breakfast items including coffee and cinnamon rolls, and lunch items such as hamburgers, hot dogs and pulled pork. We have been fortunate enough to get booked for events all the way up to Thanksgiving, so we are going to keep busy this fall,” he added.
The mobile kitchen was originally a school bus that they customized and converted for traveling and cooking food to order. Amy Heaston said that she has always had a passion for cooking.
“We have nine children, so I have always been cooking and loved to do so,” she said. “We also serve food two days a week at the factory that Allen works at in Monroe City. We were able to purchase the school bus and originally, we were going to use it as a camper. We decided to take a chance with this business and figured that if the business goes south, we always have a camper as a plan ‘b’,” she added.
Saturdays have proven to be a little more busy than Fridays at the flea market, since school is back in and most people are at work during the early hours of the day. Patricia Kraft, who organized the flea market, said that she was a little worried at the turnout this Friday.
“We had very few vendors on Friday, and I was a little concerned,” said Kraft. “We did a lot better today though. Another thing to consider is that there is just so much going on this time of year. October will be the last month we do the flea market this year and we will start back up in May of 2023. We are still charging the same fee for vendors, $25 for a day or $40 for the weekend. I was told that the fairgrounds plan to have a sewer line put in here where we set up our vendors, ahead of the campers coming in that will be working on the construction of the windmills that are going to be built soon. So, depending on how soon that happens, we may have to look at moving our vendor spaces further down the fairgrounds. Hopefully, we will be able to utilize the pavilion area so that we could offer a shaded area for vendors to use,” she added.