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Ceres Flea Market expands venue to include Friday evenings
A snowcone vendor hands her product to a buyer at the Ceres Flea Market, which just expanded to include Friday evening hours of operation.

Those who love shopping the Ceres Flea Market will be happy to see the venue take on Friday operation from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Within the month the market will also be open on Mondays, said Ceres Flea Market Operations Manager Anna Garcia.
The market had only been open Saturdays and Sundays between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Ceres Flea Market Group (CFMG) Investment LLC of Modesto purchased the 25-acre site on Whitmore Avenue to open the flea market venue last summer. The move delighted the city as well as a population that enjoyed finding weekend bargains there in past years before it closed.

So far the effort to rebuild the market has resulted in attendance of about 1,000 per day but a far cry from the estimated 5,000 to 10,000 per day in its heyday in 2004.

Since opening, the CFMG has enticed sellers by charging only a dollar per day to rent a space, which is passed directly to the city. Free admission and parking is a mainstay for the shopping public. The venue has attracted about 80 vendors but with room for hundreds more, as Garcia. As of Feb. 1, the flea market will be charging sellers $10 per day or $100 per month for a storage space. Some vendors don't need storage space.

The group is hoping to spring interest in the market through approximately 12 special events per year, including car shows, concerts and the April 28 El Via Del Nino ("Day of the Child") celebration. The event will have a fun family focus of activities centered around the child, such as face painting, games and rides. A Cinco de Mayo celebration is being planned for May 5.

Seeking to draw more business, plans are in the works to resurrect the Ceres Drive-In movie theater by the group that reopened the Ceres Flea Market last year. Garcia said her group held a car wash to raise funds to help offset the expenses associated with getting the drive-in theater off the ground.