First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, began in the 1850's. The first Monday of each month was when the circuit court judge stopped in Canton and held court. The people in the area came to town to do their business, pick up provisions and sit in on a few court hearings (possibly even a hanging or two).
It only made sense that they bring to town any produce, livestock or home goods that they wanted to sell or trade. The 'flea market' was set up just off the courthouse square. By the mid-1960s, First Monday had outgrown the town square and six acres of land was purchased just a few blocks from the courthouse and has been there ever since.
Originally, First Monday was only held on the first Monday of the month but is now held the Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of the month. Now Monday is no longer included in Trade days. First Monday runs from sun up to sun down, rain or shine…all year long!
What started with just a few farmers on the town square has grown to roughly 100 acres of wares and there is space for 6,000 vendors!Yes, you read that right…six thousand!
When To Go
Thursdays are the slowest days while Saturday is, of course, the busiest day. All vendors may not be open on Thursdays, but believe me, there are still plenty of vendors open.
Crowds are smallest in the early morning and pick up throughout the day.Some vendors will open as early as 8 a.m. while others may be a little later. Most vendors close by 5 p.m. but some will stay open a little longer.
Parking & Map of the Grounds
There is a plethora of parking surrounding the First Monday grounds and is roughly $5 (cash) for all day.We've even been allowed to 'come and go' as long as we notified the parking person as we left that we were coming back.
We like to park near building 4000 as we know that we can get a map of the grounds at the first booth when we first come in. In our opinion, a map is a must as the grounds are so sprawling it is very easy to get turned around and not remember which way you came from or what buildings you've already visited.
Need A Little Help?
Worried your legs won't be able to carry you through the vastness that is First Monday? Worry no more! There are several places that you can rent a scooter by the hour (roughly $7 per hour) that will scoot you from here to there and everywhere in between. Building 4000 (where you can get a map) is a good place to rent a scooter.
If you're really 'Johnny on the Spot' you can reserve a scooter ahead of time so it's waiting for you when you get there. Click HERE for more information regarding reserving a scooter.
Plan on doing all of your Christmas shopping at First Monday but don't want to carry a ton of bags or make several trips back to your vehicle?Shopping carts are a big thing at Trade Days.You can rent them, buy them or bring your own from home.Little red wagons work well too!
They're just a wire pull behind cart that can hold your purchases…but they can be customized with cup holders, purse holders or a fabric insert to keep anything from falling out of the 'too big' mesh of the cart.
There are several RV Parks and Campgrounds in the area but unless you make reservations well in advance they're hard to come by on First Monday weekends.
The other option is to camp right on the First Monday grounds. How nice to not have to lug all of your purchases any further than the comfort of your own home!
There are a couple of camping options to choose from:reserved space or first come, first served. Full hook up with 50-amp, Full hook up with 30-amp or just water and electric. There is a dump station on premises.I think the next time we're in Canton during First Monday weekend we'll choose to camp onsite.
If you're interested in more details on camping at First Monday click HERE.
While most vendors take a credit card and all take cash, very few will take a check. There are ATM machine scattered throughout the grounds.
Some call First Monday a Flea Market but that's just a very small part of First Monday. You will find the 'flea market' type of shopping…used items, antiques, etc.
But you will also find vendors selling brand new products (clothing, toys, books, etc). Vendors selling homemade soaps, tools, Texas merchandise, flowers, and food stuffs are not uncommon. If you're lucky they'll even have samples!
Products such as Avon, Pampered Chef, Tupperware and Lula Roe all have small shops set up so that you don't have to wait until you get invited to a 'party' to purchase your needs or wants.
You may see a lot of the same merchandise from vendor to vendor so you'll want to watch prices as they do vary. However, you'll also see some pretty unique items that you may not find other places.
Shops are found inside and out…in air conditioning and not. It can get very warm so be sure to drink lots of water and rest as needed.
Canton's First Monday Trade Days is a Mecca for shoppers…don't miss out!
First Monday even has an area to sell pets! While not located on the 'original' First Monday grounds it is located nearby on the corner of highways 19 and 64.
The name 'Dog Alley' implies that only dogs are sold but that's not true you'll find dogs, birds, cats, etc. Plus, you'll find booths selling accessories for your pets too.
Beware: Don't visit this area unless you're prepared to go home with a new pal or can be 'cold as ice' and not allow those longing, loving stares get to you!
While you stroll the First Monday grounds your nose will be assaulted by all kinds of aromas that will have your tummy rumbling. You might as well satisfy a craving or two because the assortment of food booths is incredible. Texas BBQ, fish, burgers, roasted corn, Mexican food, corn dogs, fried stuff, tater twisters…all just calling your name. Oh…and the fresh squeezed lemonade…yum!
Check It Out
Now that you have all this information…go check out First Monday for yourself. You'll find lots of unique items you may or may not need, put on LOTS of miles and eat all kinds of unhealthy stuff…BUT…you'll have a blast!