Canton Trade Days
Legend and Facts
Legend has it that First Monday began over a hundred and fifty years ago. People from around Van Zandt County came together at the courthouse in Canton on the first Monday of every month to take care of business. Since the county was larger than its courthouse, people planned for an all day trip. They settled around the lush lawn and enjoyed shade from the massive oaks as they visited with neighbors. Before long they started talking trades, and brought wares the next month. A few others got in on it. Soon, everyone was bringing their extra “junk” to trade for something they needed. Word spread.
This is how legend says First Monday was born. Now First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, is said to be the largest in the world.
Moving past the history, here are five facts you should know:
1. First Monday is NOT held on the first Monday of the month. It is not always held the first or last weekend of every month. For First Monday dates, check your calendar (or this blog). The Canton Trade Days always takes place the weekend immediately before the first Monday of every month.
2. First Monday is not just a Saturday and Sunday affair. Vendors begin the set up process as early as a week before, and in the good weather months, most open for business on Thursday.
3. First Monday is year round. Yes, snow, rain, tornadoes, holidays, earth cracking heat, we’ve seen it all while still ringing up customers at the Gypsy Pearl. Nothing stops a diehard shopper or vendor. However, keep in mind that vendors are coming from all over the country and in cases of ice or such severity, some cannot make the trip. But the vendors who are open are ready to serve you well.
4. First Monday is HUGE. Plan accordingly. It takes most visitors multiple trips to Canton before they “see it all.” And by that time, everything is new again, because vendors are always adding one-of-a-kind merchandise.
Aside from the Main Grounds on Hwy 19 that contain the Original Pavilions, the Arbors I-III, Trade Centers I-IV, Dry Creek Landing, Pavilions 4000, 4500, 6000, and 6500, Row 46, the Dixie Lofts, The Canton Civic Center, the “fields” and other assorted single shops (like the Gypsy Pearl One), there are other areas to be explored.
Also on Hwy 19 are the indoor shops of the Canton Marketplace, and next to it, a shopping center with the likes of Laurie Anna’s. Past the main grounds is Turner’s Store and the indoor shops near it.
On Hwy 64 you’ll find the Old Mill Marketplace pavilions, the Village and the Mountain. Across the highway from this on the other side of 64 is known by some as Dog Alley.
Hwy 64 also runs through the Canton Downtown Square, where there are month-round shops and the huge oaks still surrounding the Courthouse where it all began.
And of course, the odd and end vendors set up in any spot normally empty the rest of the month in the small town of Canton. Population? Around 3,600.
5. First Monday is like nothing you’ve experience. This is the word from shoppers who have visited trade shows in France, and first timers from Canada. Prepare yourself to be amazed, and to shop ‘til you drop.
An adventure awaits.