54 Market gets ready to host the October flea market.

Applications are now open to vendors who want to participate in a possible win-win deal for buyers and sellers alike at the upcoming bi-annual Junk N’ Gems Flea Market hosted by Market 54.

Offerings are expected to appeal to shoppers who love to scrounge for special finds. Date for the event is Saturday, October 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Market 54 owner-manager Karin Koehn said spaces are available until they run out. Booth space is priced at $35 for a 10x10 spot at 1115 West Highway 54, one block west of Kwik Shop.

“Our parking lot can hold at least 35 vendors and a food truck,” Koehn said.

This is the eighth Junk N’Gems Flea Market the business has hosted since the idea for the semi-annual event was conceived four years ago.

“Our first one had eight vendors and roughly 500 attendees,” Koehn said. “Now we have a parking lot packed full of unique vendors and literally thousands of attendees.”

Koehn said the concept for the vendors’ market was to “fill a need due to not having anything like it in the Pratt area.”

“We wanted to be able to provide a space for others to sell items and this is a perfect location to bring vendors, travelers and community together,” Koehn said.

There are no restrictions on booths, as long as they are legal, except that there will be only one food vendor and only one consultant per direct sales company, according to Koehn.

Not having a “ton of restrictions” on what vendors can and can’t sell has been a boon to the event as well. The event, she said, is not limited to a ‘crafters’ flea market or a ‘juried’ flea market.

“We draw in so many unique vendors due to not having the restrictions. That’s why we chose the name Junk ‘N Gems because you’ll find just that,” Koehn said. “Some junk you have to dust off, scrub or repair and we’ve also had handmade gem creations that are beautifully unique.”

At past events, vendors have brought items, ranging from yard-sale stuff to rare, antique offerings.

“There have been vendors who go pick old farmsteads and bring in one-of-a-kind items to sell to Pinterest junkies,” Koehn said.

In addition to local vendors, Junk N’Gem shoppers can expect to meet vendors from Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska and as far as California.

Updates on vendors who will be participating are posted on the Market 54 Facebook site and interested vendors can also contact Koehn through Facebook.

Koehn said she believes there are a couple of reasons why the flea markets her business hosts have grown over the years.

“Everybody likes a good deal,” she said. “And a lot of people just enjoy the thrill of hunting for those things they had in their childhood. It’s almost like we’re hunting for the memories more so than the item.”

“I grew up going to flea markets,” Koehn said. “When I see the little ones come out with their parents and get excited about finding an old toy, that in itself brings back so many good memories. And one day these events will be a good memory for them as well.”

Koehn said she has heard from other local business owners that they have experienced a ripple effect with an increase of customers on Junk N’Gems Flea Market days, likely because the location being right off the Highway 54 stops a lot of traffic.

“I’m proud to host such a great event for our community and local businesses,” Koehn said.