The Man-O-War Flea Market celebrated its Thirtieth Anniversary with a record crowd. They came from all over Abaco, most of them riding with Albury’s Ferry which had an extended schedule to Man-O-War for the day at a half price fare.
One of the largest ferry boats, accommodating 109 people, departed from Government Dock at 9 am almost completely full. People were looking not only for a day’s excursion and socializing, but also for bargain hunting and good eating. Among them were several members of the District of Education, one of them Dr. Lenora Black the District Superintendent, who had come to support the Man-O-War Primary School, the beneficiary of most of the market’s proceeds.
Ferries also left from the Crossing, from Boat Harbour and Great Guana Cay adding to the number of people who had come on their own boats from other islands.
It was definitely a great success; according to the PTA President who organized the market with the other PTA members. The event gathered quite a number of “most and best” – the most people attending (between three and four hundred), the most items ever offered for the Silent Auction (stays at local resorts, restaurant meals, dental care, a TV and more), the best raffle prizes (a lawn mower, a grill, a computer and an airline ticket among others) and the most proceeds collected, well over expectations.
As usual, 100% of the money collected from the sale of items donated to the White Elephant, from the food and the books went to the school. Vendors contributed 10% of their proceeds.
As you walked from the ferry dock to the main street, which had been partially blocked for pedestrian traffic, your attention was caught by a display of boat models.
Further along, residents sold clothes from their front porch. Then came the books and the two large tables of the White Elephant items with people already browsing around. It was difficult not to find any treasure among hundreds of objects offered: from coffee pots to picture frames, from dishes to golf irons, from alarm clocks to bows and arrows – there was something for all. Gracious ladies helped you with your purchase, packaging them and even keeping them in boxes until ready to go.
Even though the Pantry was not represented this year, individual members of the popular store had contributed many baked goods, breads, pastries, cakes and more. One stand offered meats, such as barbecued ribs and grilled chicken with the usual sides of peas and rice, potato salad and coleslaw. By lunch time, many were sitting on the small wall facing the food stand or at some of the many tables that had been provided this year, eating to their heart’s delight.
They could even top the meal with fresh coffee, tea, soursop or Oreo cookie ice cream, all made fresh while they waited.
The vendors displayed their fare on the grassy area facing the marina, their venue heralded by a group of fiddle players, David Wright & Friends, rendering lively music. Tools, pictures frames, china, sea glass and lamp work jewelry, sewn goods, baskets and photographs on canvas to mention a few attracted many on-lookers and buyers. Along the way, Friends of Abaco Animals offered their usual display of bric-a-brac.
Towards the end of the street the Sally Sea Side Boutique selling Androsia Fabric and the Canvas & Sail Shop were well attended with people buying bags, hats or purses made with the popular fabric.
Children did not have to idly run around to burn their energy: they could play games of hoops, jump to their hearts’ content in the Bouncing Castle or enter Soldier Crab races.
As the time to catch the return ferry neared, people slowly walked away towards the dock, loaded with their purchase, many in boxes or carrying them if too bulky to be packed, such as an air compressor, a huge palm frond basket or dried flowers too tall to fit in a bag.
The Man-O-War Primary School PTA president expressed her gratitude to the entire community of Abaco: to the Man-O-War residents for their hands-on help and to the community for their support of the event.