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Summer Set Flea Market buzzing with activity

Gordon Siemers, of Cross Lake, sells cedar bird feeders and bird houses at the Summer Set Flea Market.

Park Rapids merchants are smiling at the summer they’ve had, even though it got off to a late start.

One business that boomed was Summer Set Flea Market east of the city.

Also referred to as Summerset, the flea market attracted buyers, sellers, horse traders, barterers, swappers and bickerers.

Gordon Siemers was probably in that latter group, but his bickering was self-inflicted.

“Wish I’d been here earlier in the summer,” said the Cross Lake vendor of cedar bird feeders and bird houses. He was having a fabulous day Aug. 22.

On his table were purple martin houses, wren houses and a variety of feeders selling like hotcakes.

He even made an eight-room house with separate quarters for the bird. No room service included, though.

The market is brimming with young and old bargain seekers, working their way from tent to tent, box to box.

In the hot summer sun, recently potted hostas need a drink when they get to their new homes.

Rick Bolinske has brought his collection of knives from Battle Lake. Then there’s the centerpiece of his collection – a two-foot statue of a mallard that holds a toilet paper roll.

Just down the dirt avenue, case upon case of jewelry is displayed. Silver Eagle Indian Crafts, owned by Glenn and Rosalie Munsch of Wadena.

“We’ve been doing this 20 years,” Rosalie says. “This is a nice little market. We do very well here.”

She declines to say how well, but it’s obviously worth transporting, setting up and shutting down 20-some feet of display cases.

Munsch said she and her husband spent 22 years making a living out of their trailer, traveling to and from Indian reservations acquiring inventory.

Now they winter in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and summer in Wadena.

Summer Set has been on Highway 34 for decades and always draws a crowd off the highway. Lynne Denman runs the market and cooks food for the lunch wagon that serves Midwestern fare such as biscuits and gravy, still popular on a hot day.

Crowds paw through boxes and bags of stuff.

Wayne Smetanka is working his way up and down merchants’ row. He’s not looking for anything in particular, just a bargain.

He’s smoking a cigar popped into the end of a pipe.

“I like to get my money’s worth,” he explains.

Summer Set will have just what he needs – whatever that is.

The flea market is open Thursdays all summer long.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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