The Youngstown Flea is so much more than a group of vendors in a parking lot. It’s a collection of the area’s dreamers, makers and doers that shines a light on the positive things happening in Youngstown. We spoke to the founder of the Youngstown Flea, Derrick McDowell, about what the Flea means to Youngstown.

What is the Youngstown Flea?

The Youngstown Flea is the community’s outdoor market for makers. What we hoped to do was gather a community of makers and creatives and doers and dreamers and introduce them to their own community. So we gather once a month, outdoors underneath the beautiful Youngstown skies, and we just engage in a way that allows businesses to to meet their own community and introduce something they’ve made with their own hands.

What kind of experience are you creating for the City of Youngstown?

You know you liken it to concerts, right? There’s artists and then there’s Michael Jackson. There’s performers and then there’s Prince. A lot of thought goes into, not just putting on an event, but an experience. And that begins from the moment you enter the Flea, where you see people right on that lawn space doing yoga. And not only that but you hear the music and you get the vibe and the beat of the Flea. And then you start smelling the food and then you notice all the vendors and all the tents and then you notice the families. And you notice those that, because we’re pet friendly, brought their best friend. And you hit that moment where you have to decide where to begin. If you just look at it at a surface level, you know some vendors in a parking lot selling their wares, you’ve missed it. There’s so much more going on that you may not see until you open your eyes and experience and hear all the things that are going on in this city.

Here are some of the dreamers, makers and doers that are prominently featured at the Flea and have previously been featured on Shop Local Mahoning Valley: Reclaimed RoseVintage VanBlairDough House Cookies