When you see flashing advertisements on your web browser announcing you've won a free laptop, iPod, Louis Vuitton purse, etc., the "scam" light bulb goes off in your head. Even when you get a coupon for a free burger, one scan of the fine print will show you that you need to buy the same damn burger to get one. When surrounded by situations like this, it's to believe that anything in this world really is free. When it comes to events such as The Really Really Free Market, it's second nature to look for a catch.
But there is no catch to the Really Really Free Market, a chain of free swapmeets intended to help the needy, bring together the community, and bring about social change in a capitalist society. Each Really Really Free Market is different, but the ideals of "share and share alike" are always the same. Participants bring free food, donate used goods and offer free services such as haircuts, bicycle repair or music. No, you don't even need to donate to be able to take something home. There are several chapters of the Really Really Free Market across the world, including two in Orange County: Fullerton and Anaheim.
Socially conscious young adults, families, homeless people and curious onlookers gathered in La Palma Park in Anaheim to participate on Sunday. This particular event offered free food in conjunction with the Anaheim chapter of Food Not Bombs and free bicycle repair by The Bicycle Tree.
Most of the items donated were clothing--vintage styles for men and women, children's clothes, punk-rock band shirts, shoes. But cute one-of-a-kind objects such as the handmade cow pictured above were nestled in between the textiles.
There is a tremendous sense of community at the Free Market events. Strangers are friendly to one another, introducing themselves left and right. The good feelings of helping strangers by helping yourself is tangible in the air. It truly is an opportunity to meet like-minded people and participate in something constructive with friends.
The Anaheim Really Really Free Market takes place every other month on the first Sunday of that month. The next one will be held at La Palma Park on Aug. 7. The Fullerton chapter's event takes place every month on the first Sunday of that month. The next one will be on July 3 at Hillcrest Park. The events are open from noon until sunset.
If you are interested in starting a Free Market in your town, check out the organization's website.