A trove of treasures awaits in Bennett

The 37th annual flea market to benefit the volunteer fire department takes place Saturday, July 20.
Harriet Broom, of Pittsville, sorts through items in the basement of the Bennett Town Hall on Wednesday morning. (Jed Carlson /

The Bennett Town Hall was bursting with bargains Wednesday, July 17. The treasures included racks of clothes, rows of housewares, piles of sporting goods, a tent full of furniture, tools, boats, lawnmowers and more. Trucks and a UTV brought in additional items during the morning, including iron railings, light fixtures, a treadmill and freestanding shelving units.

Volunteers have been adding and arranging items all week for what organizers call the biggest sale in Douglas County, the 37th annual Flea Market and Bake Sale to support the Bennett Volunteer Fire Department.

The sale, which attracts thousands of shoppers annually, takes place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the Bennett Town Hall, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 53 and County Road L.

You can find everything and the kitchen sink, according to volunteers.

It’s a community effort. Donations have flooded in from Solon Springs, Lake Nebagamon and as far away as Danbury, Duluth and Superior.

Natalie Pooler organizes linens inside the Bennett Town Hall on Wednesday morning. (Jed Carlson /

“Everybody has a friend who has something to give us,” said Richard Theien, event chairman. “People give us new stuff, even.”

Wednesday morning, Pepe Curphy of Poplar stopped by with a truck full of items from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Solon Springs.

“We decided to donate it here. It’s for a really great cause, the fire department,” Curphy said. “And you know as all these communities, we all work together.”

Volunteer fire departments rely on grants, donations and fundraisers to keep equipment up to date. Funds raised from past flea markets have gone to purchase items like the department’s UTV, which is used for rescues and wildland fires.

Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward replacing the department’s 1999 rescue vehicle, which has over 260,000 miles on it.

Joe Meller, left, and Richard Theien unload a trailer of furniture in a tent outside of the Bennett Town Hall on Wednesday morning. (Jed Carlson /

The flea market is half sale, half social event.

“People love to come here, they’ll sit here all day just to watch people walk by,” Richard Theien said.

Volunteers said they don’t mind giving up some of their summer vacation to amass the piles of treasure.

“This is fun,” said volunteer Marie Rones of Bennett. “It’s fun seeing all the people and seeing what comes in.”

Once they get their fill of shopping, visitors can view some more treasures a few miles away. The Classics by the Lake Car Show is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the village of Lake Nebagamon.
Bryant Theien, 12, carries pillows inside the Bennett Town Hall on Wednesday morning. (Jed Carlson /


Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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