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The Yankee Express

Grafton Flea Market’s bounce-back year hits full stride

Brian Gerstl of Franklin, with his son Cody and his brother Rob, is a veteran among vendors at the Grafton Flea Market. “I been coming here for years. I started coming with my dad,” he said.

percent” of the venue is outdoors.
Unfortunately, that thinking didn’t prevail.
Mr. Peters could not be happier to be back.
“We were able to open on time and we are getting a lot of new dealers to go with the holdovers,” he said. “A guy who left last year because of COVID-19 is back. 
“This will be fifty years for us. It started with my father and uncle and now it’s me and my wife and daughter.”
Open 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays, the Grafton Flea Market benefits from a tried and true formula. Admission is still just one dollar and the price for dealers to set up remains the same, Mr. Peters said. Having so many vendors arranged on grassy areas, some in a pine grove atmosphere, lends a Brimfield feel to the surroundings.By Rod Lee
Ask them, the dealers and patrons, and they would probably say “there are flea markets, and then there is Grafton.”
The Grafton Flea Market, located on more than eighteen acres on the westbound side of Upton St. (Rt. 140), is open for business in 2021.
The pandemic may have derailed operations for the Peters family in 2020, but not this year.
Now celebrating its fifty-third season, Grafton has not only survived but is a granddaddy among ventures of its kind.
That makes it the exception, as flea markets go. The Central Massachusetts landscape is scattered with flea markets that have closed, including those in Dudley and Charlton.
“Last week was one of our biggest yet,” Michael Peters said as he stood at one of the admission gates to the property on Mother’s Day afternoon. “We had two hundred dealers outside and one hundred inside” the building.
Patronage was a little slower on May 9, as could be expected; moms were being treated to dinners at restaurants like the Red Rock, just down the road. The Red Rock was packed.
“Father’s Day will be good,” Mr. Peters said.
Mr. Peters had tried to make a go of it last year with an appeal to the governor for permission to open on time. He stressed that “95