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The Rose Bowl Flea Market

Rose Bowl, Flea Market, Pasadena

Vendor at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. Los Angeles Almanac photo.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is held every second Sunday of each month, rain or shine, at the legendary Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It features more than 2,500 vendors and draws 20,000 visitors, including celebrities, interior designers and international visitors. It is the largest (and said to be most legendary) flea market in California and one of the largest in the United States. The Travel Channels lists it among the ten best flea markets in the world.

Among other things, vendors offer a huge variety of antiques, vintage apparel, furniture, glassware, jewelry, and locally-created art and crafts. The fare ranges from exotic pricey creations to items you'd typically find at garage sales. The event is arranged in themed sections to make it a little easier to zero in on your interests.

Rose Bowl, Flea Market, Pasadena

Row of vendors and visitors at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. Los Angeles Almanac photo.

The event is produced by R.G. Canning Inc., a company based in Maywood, just outside Los Angeles. Since 1957, the company has produced concerts and car and trade shows. In 1968, Canning and partner Bill Tunnell were looking for an opportunity to indulge antique interests when they discovered that the City of Pasadena was also looking for extra income from the massive Rose Bowl and its parking lots. The first Rose Bowl Flea Market was held on November 10, 1968, with about 200 vendors. In a Pasadena Independent article following the event, titled “Rose Bowl Swap Shop Called Far from Flop,” Tunnell told the newspaper that the Rose Bowl was an ideal spot for a flea market because of the large parking lot and the enclosed area for the booths. He considered their first event to be successful because more than half the exhibitors signed up for a spot in the following month's event. The article reported that the first event drew an estimated 12,000 visitors.

Rose Bowl, Flea Market, Pasadena, 1968

Advertisement for the first Rose Bowl Flea Market, held Nov. 10, 1968. Published in the Independent Star-News, Nov. 2, 1968.

Also see: The Rose Bowl