Labor Day Flea Market raises funds, awareness for Iowa City nonprofit

17th annual event takes place at Johnson County Fairgrounds

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IOWA CITY — A long time partnership between two Iowa City men is gearing up once again to offer the public a chance to learn about a local charity.

The Labor Day Flea Market, sponsored by the Disability Enterprise Foundation, takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4, at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, 4265 Oak Crest Hill Rd. SE in Iowa City.

The 17th annual event is free to the public. Nearly 50 vendors have signed up to sell their antique and collectible items for the 1,000 or so visitors expected to visit the fairgrounds.

The flea market was created as a fundraiser and a promotional event for the Disability Enterprise Foundation from a partnership between the organization’s Executive Director Tom Walz and Bill Ackerman, owner of Ackerman’s Antiques and Estate Services.

“Anymore, it’s more of a public awareness thing for Disability Enterprise Foundation. If it makes money, that’s good, too,” said Ackerman, whose business is located in Iowa City.

Based in Iowa City, the Disability Enterprise Foundation helps retired seniors and individuals with disabilities start up their own business enterprises.

Walz said after expenses have been paid, proceeds from the event go toward the organization.

“It’s a lot of work, but you know when the day is done, it’s always successful,” Ackerman said.

Walz, a retired professor from the University of Iowa School of Social Work, founded the Disability Enterprise Foundation in 2010, he said. The foundation manages the Iowa Disability Creative Works Gallery, an online gallery for individuals with disabilities to market their artistic work.

“It’s all kind of working successfully,” Walz said. “We just need a good turnout for the flea market.”

When it was founded, the flea market served as a promotional event for Extend the Dream Foundation, a not-for-profit organization Walz served after his retirement in 2000.

The flea market had been Ackerman’s idea, Walz said — and had its fair share of bumps at the beginning.

“That first flea market, we had a hell of a storm. All of the tents were blown away,” Walz said. “I didn’t know what to do, and we tried to put it together the best we could.”

But when the market opened at 8 a.m., people came and vendors sold their wares, and the event has been able to continue since, outgrowing two other locations until organizers settled at the fairgrounds.

“It has really served its purpose,” Walz said. “I was pleased we were able to offer vendors an opportunity to sell their wares, but most important, I was happy we had something to offer the community for Labor Day.”

Ackerman said vendors can still sign up to be a part of the flea market this year. For more information, contact Ackerman at (319) 430-3737 or Walz at (319) 530-7865.

IF YOU GO

What: Labor Day Flea Market

Where: Johnson County Fairgrounds, 4265 Oak Crest Hill Rd. SE, Iowa City.

When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4.

Why: Fundraiser and a promotional event for the Disability Enterprise Foundation, an Iowa City nonprofit that helps retired seniors and individuals with disabilities start up their own business enterprises.

Cost: Free admission

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

 

 

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