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Hermit crabs brightly decorated to help distinguish winners in the popular solider crab races. (Photo by Charmaine Albury)

Man-O-War Flea Market Features Food, Fun, Ship Tours and More

A good crowd attended this year’s Man-O-War Flea Market. The addition of several ferries, balmy weather and the hope of finding good bargains contributed to the healthy turn out.

The annual function, a fund raiser for the Man-O-War Primary School and other charities, took place on February 18, 2017.

This year, the portion of the street reserved for the school tables manned by volunteers was clearly marked by entrance and exit signs on sawhorses. But the crowd was fluid, patronizing private yard sales, shops and boutiques all the way to Sally Sea Side Boutique and the Albury Sail Shop. However, the organizers hope that everyone participating in the market would show their generosity by making a donation to the school.

Tables loaded with china, rugs, linen, glassware, mirrors, alarm clocks, wood work, lamp shades, tools and much more could be found everywhere. Reasonably priced items attracted quite a few browsers looking for a bargain. A young Green Turtle Cay student, his piggy bank in hand, bought a small alarm clock for a dollar, so he would wake up on time not to be late for school.

Larger items included a dinghy, a portable air conditioning unit, and a generator.

Hoopla, soldier-crab races, a bouncing castle and volunteering at the school’s table kept the youth occupied while their parents browsed or chatted with renewed acquaintances.

There would not be a Man-O-War function without food; the flea market was no exception. There was food galore to satisfy every palate. Conch fritters were offered in several locations along the road.  As lunch time approached, a crowd gathered around the main food section, behind which barbecued chicken and ribs were grilled. The meat was offered with a choice of two side orders, macaroni & cheese and peas & rice among others; hamburgers and hot dogs, lobster salad with pasta were also on the menu. Cookies, sweets and ice cream could be found at other locations along the way. There was even a choice of flavored coffee and local honey to take home.

Missing this year was The Pantry with its assortment of delicious breads, pies, cakes, jams and jellies. People also mentioned looking in vain for the plant stand that was a landmark of the flea market for years.

The silent auction table, manned by Tica Roberts, offered a few interesting items such as a golf car windshield, a kid’s bicycle, a rice cooker, Tupperware, art work, and more. People had until 1pm to bid on the lot of their choice.

At the entrance of the green, where many more sellers had set up shop, David Wright and David Idas entertained the passers-by with Mandolin and Guitar. Of course donations for the school were welcomed.

Further along a persistent mockingbird sang to his heart’s content, serenading vendors and clients. There, regular market vendors Francoise Hedden displayed her collages and Vonda Bethel offered Androsia Fabric creations.

Michael Lightbourn of Lightbourn Farm had brought an abundance of fresh produce which were all sold out by lunch time.

Another attraction was a tour of the William H Albury, docked behind one of the Albury’s warehouse, with Peter Wright as host. The famous Man-O-War built sailboat was returned to her home after spending some debilitating time in Jamaica.  She will need a lot of cosmetic work, including new mast and rigs, but her engine still goes strong, said Peter Wright who mentioned that his brother David brought her back from Jamaica and is now actively involved in the restoration of the ship.  It appears that a mast has been found in Nova Scotia.  Funds are presently being raised to bring it to Abaco. It is estimated that it will take several years to bring her back to her original condition. Several years ago, the William H Albury was used as training ship for the scout’s program.

Welcome tables were occupied by people grateful for a shady place to rest their legs after the walk to the Albury’s Sail Shop. Many patronized the shop where a large assortment of bags of all sizes, shapes and purposes, purses and hats made of sail cloth were displayed -some items sewn in front of them as they shopped.

By noon the island restaurants were booming with customers hoping to get a bite to eat before walking back to the ferry for the 1:30pm return to Marsh Harbour.

It seemed that this year Man O War Flea Market was again a great success as a fund raiser for the school.  According to Man-O-War school’s Principal, Christine Brown, it was even more successful than last year’s.

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