The Fieldhouse Flea Market Celebrates 50 Years

The Women’s League event raises money for student scholarships

TACOMA, Wash. – This year is the 50th anniversary of the giant Parisian-style flea market at University of Puget Sound’s field house, and the college’s Women’s League is making their Saturday, March 17 event a special one.

The Fieldhouse Flea Market, offering everything from 100-year-old antiques to freshly baked bread, regularly attracts some 4,000 visitors. This year there will be 70 local vendors, artists, and craftsmasters selling furniture and household décor, books, jewelry, gourmet food, artisan crafts, and up-cycled treasures for your home and garden.

There also will be advance prizes, a raffle, and—in memory of the original flea market in 1968—a booth with homemade lemon tarts, baked by two daughters of the tarte au citron’s first Women’s League creator.

The Fieldhouse Flea Market will take place Saturday, March 17, in University of Puget Sound’s Memorial Fieldhouse, on N. 11th Street, near Union Ave., in Tacoma. Early entry, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., is $10. General entry thereafter runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is $5. Children aged 2 and under enter free. Parking is free. All of the proceeds from admission fees go toward scholarships to help students attend University of Puget Sound.

A Golden Ticket contest on social media gives market-goers the chance to win free, front-of-the-line entry to the market, as well as raffle tickets and swag bags of goodies. Visitors to the Women’s League Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook event pages can enter the drawings in the weeks leading up to the event.

Image courtesy University of Puget Sound

Image courtesy University of Puget Sound

Susan Strobel ’70, who attended the first Women’s League flea market in 1968 while a student at Puget Sound, says her mother, Elsie Strobel ’33, regularly prepared batches of fresh lemon tarts for the event.

“The one thing that really motivated me to come to the flea market, and that I had to have when I was there, was the lemon tarts,” she said. This Valentines Day she and her sister, Carol Colleran ’64, were busy fluting pastry cups and squeezing lemon juice as they made test batches of tarts, aiming to equal their mother’s.

Amy VanZandt ’06 remembers walking in the rain to attend her first Fieldhouse Flea Market on St. Patrick’s Day. “We had such a good time! I was in grad school and was writing my thesis, so stress was high. I bought a peppermint candle and burned it over the next several weeks of writing. I loved that candle—and aced my thesis.”

Susan Resneck Pierce, president emerita of Puget Sound, writes, “I first encountered the Women’s League in 1992 and was blown away by the passion of its members.” She said the generosity of donors, such as Bethel Schneebeck, and the popular appeal of the flea market had greatly impressed her.

Proceeds from the Fieldhouse Flea Market go toward need-based scholarships for University of Puget Sound students. Last year Women’s League endowed scholarships provided $65,000 in financial aid to 17 Puget Sound students, while over the years more than 350 students have received scholarships.

The market is the largest fundraising event organized each year by volunteers from the University of Puget Sound Women’s League. It has been held since 1968, after a league member traveled to Paris, France, and was inspired by a visit to a flea market there. The league was founded in 1900 and has supported the university and its community since that time—doing everything from making curtains for the dormitories to feeding students during the 1918 flu epidemic. In recent decades the group has focused on raising funds for scholarships.

8 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, March 17

Memorial Fieldhouse, University of Puget Sound

For more information visit: pugetsound.edu/FleaMarket. For updates visit: facebook.com/PugetSoundWomensLeague. For directions and a map of the University of Puget Sound campus: pugetsound.edu/directions. For accessibility information please contact accessibility@pugetsound.edu or 253.879.3931, or visit pugetsound.edu/accessibility.

- University of Puget Sound