You could see the smoke for miles and miles. It has been less than a week since a devastating fire wiped out what has been a staple for Evansville bargain hunters for years but some of the vendors from the Diamond Flea Market are pulling themselves up by the bootstraps with plans to set up this weekend in the parking lot.

On May 14, 2021 my husband and I were in the car on Evansville's east side when I noticed the smoke in the distance to the northwest. When we got home a little later and opened Facebook, we learned that the plume of smoke we saw was the Diamond Flea Market located at Diamond Avenue, just off Highway 41. As an avid thrifter and bargain hunter, I was so sad to see the photos being shared online, not just from the Evansville Fire Department (which you can see below) but from people who were traveling past while crews worked into the night to extinguish the flames. Once it was out, the building was determined to be a complete and total loss.

My first thought was of all of the vendors and their wares inside the flea market. There were a couple that I remembered fondly - the booth with all of the crystal and gemstone specimens, the one with all of the vintage toys from the 70s and 80s and one called The Honey Hole.

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It's the latter that I follow on Facebook. I love Mid-Century Modern architecture, design, furniture and dinnerware and the Honey Hole had no shortage of beautiful MCM pieces for sale. Even though I have never met most of the folks who had booths inside the flea market, I felt an overwhelming sadness for them all.

If there is one thing I know about the people of the Tri-state, it's that you are resilient and it's that resiliency that has some of the vendors coming together this weekend, May 22nd & 23rd, to set up shop in the parking lot outside the ruins of what once held so many amazing, unique, and even rare treasures.

As for the cause of the fire, it was determined to have been intentionally set and less than 24 hours after the blaze began, the Evansville Police Department had a suspect in custody who admitted to setting the fire. 25-year-old Christopher Michael Liggett was arrested on May 15, 2021 on charges of arson.

According to our friends at WEHT/Tristatehompage, Liggett made his first appearance in court today, May 20, 2021 and has now been released on a $1,000 cash bond. He is expected to return to court on June 2nd. At this time, no motive for the fire has been revealed.

So while we wait for our local judicial system to carry out it's duties, for this weekend, at least, let's rally around the vendors who have lost so much and found themselves displaced. They'll be setting up shop in the parking lot located at 1250 East Diamond Avenue in Evansville. This is a great opportunity for us as a community to rally our support around these people who have lost so much. I plan to stop by and do some shopping and I hope you will too.

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