Dubai // Visitors in search of bargains endured the heat yesterday to wander among some 100 stalls at a new outdoor flea market in Al Safa Park. There they could find everything from crafts and paintings by local artists to second hand books and clothes. The monthly Saturday market looks set to become a favourite destination for those who want to shop away from the designer boutiques and chain stores of the city's shopping centres.
"Besides selling goods, the concept of the flea market is having an outdoor, community event, where everybody talks to everybody while kids are running around in a safe environment, enjoying the entertainment and the beauty of nature," said Melanie Beese, organiser of the event. "The people of Dubai have really gone crazy for the idea." After a break over the summer, yesterday was the third market to be held.
From now on, it will take place on the first Saturday of every month. "It's a very nice market - I have been coming since it started and it is a really fun way to spend the day," said Margairet Raukuttis, who was selling crafts she had made at her stall, together with some toys donated by her daughter, Melina. "Making these necklaces is my hobby, not a full-time job, but we usually sell everything."
At the stall next door, Padma Siebert was selling wooden crafts that she had brought to Dubai from her home country of Indonesia. "It's not a full-time job, but every time I go home I bring some things back with me," she said. "It is the social side of having a stall here that really makes it worth while." The market also provides an outlet for full-time professionals to sell their products. Marian Lishman, an artist, brought several dozen of her canvasses to the park.
"There are a few markets in Dubai where I set up, but this one attracts a different crowd - it gives me a chance to sell some of my older stock at a discount," she said. "My friend is an artist as well, and we want to co-operate so that one of us can be here and one at the Marina Market, which is due to start up soon. Dubai is a tough city to make a living as an artist but events like this can really help."