The Really, Really Free Market at Woodland Park opened at noon Saturday, and by 12:20 p.m. Alicia Markham and her family were marching back to their car with arms full of stuff.
Abby Pyles, 9, had a stack of clothes including a sparkly blue dress just like the one Princess Elsa wears in Disney’s “Frozen.”
Alyssa Pyles, 10, found a feathered hat that her brother Ernest, 12, said he thought resembled one of the hats worn during the French Revolution. His mom thought it looked more like a feathered sombero or, maybe, a pirate’s hat.
Whatever the label or description, what mattered most was that it was free. “It was great to be able to come here and just get free stuff,” Markham said. The best find? According to Mark Gray, who came to the park with Markham, “a bag filled with lug nuts.”
The Really, Really Free Market was a way to celebrate the spirit of giving, said John O’Shea, who helped organize the event that ran until 3 p.m. at the park. People could bring things to give away or take things that others had brought. Some people came armed with bags and nothing to share. Behind the stage erected for Ballet Under the Stars, others laid out dog toys, brightly colored hamster balls, a fat-screened analog television and lots of clothes.
O’Shea said the idea was to create a temporary gift economy in which people could leave their wallets at home and share not only stuff but talents such as music or yoga.
Marty Mudd, who has organized in previous years, said the best thing he’s gotten at a free market is a hookah pipe.
The loosely coordinated Really, Really Free Market group communicates primarily through a Facebook group of the same name.