Rosebud Flea’s summer sendoff is its biggest market yet

By Gabriel Donahue, senior staff writer

After weeks of preparation the summer sendoff would be Rosebud Flea’s biggest vintage market yet, and the largest event Towson University junior Trevor Brake had ever planned. 

At around 6:30 a.m. May 11, Brake was in the Towson American Legion Post 22 parking lot, beginning what he called “phase one” of the summer sendoff. 

Phase one included setup and “getting all 60 vendors in their spots and ready to roll.” Brake redirected the drivers of T-ball players attempting to park in the lot he reserved, which is adjacent to a small baseball field behind the post. 

A marathon closed the blocks surrounding the American Legion building, blocking the street to traffic access, leaving some vendors struggling to bring their goods to the lot. 

Rosebud’s event manager, Justin Rutkowski, made placement adjustments to fill in gaps between booths to account for vendors who couldn’t show up at the last minute. 

But Brake’s spirits were high. He drank a Monster Energy that a vendor gave him for free as he did his rounds, communicating with his team via a small, blue Walkie-talkie he had bought the previous day. 

Brake majors in business administration with a track in project management at Towson. He founded Rosebud Flea, a Towson vintage market that hosted its inaugural market last year in the parking lot of the Radebaugh Florist up the road from the university. 

As it neared 10 a.m., the event’s start time, Brake and his team prepared for “phase two: during-market operations.” These included making sure the vendors were doing okay; communicating with the videographer, who would fly a drone above the market around noon; and greeting patrons –– “kissing babies,” as Brake put it. 

“Once the ball is rolling, there’s nothing we can do about it,” Brake said. 

Rutkowski signaled to the others that it was time to open, and right on cue, patrons flocked into the lot. A steady stream would continue for the five-hour event. 

Kayla Lien, a first year student at Towson, went with her friends. Her second time visiting Rosebud, Lien was looking for “pieces you can’t really find in a store.” 

Luckily, vendors Mateo Moore and junior Ismarika Upreti of Towson Vintage Clothing specifically began their shop to provide a sustainable and affordable alternative to the fast fashion stores near the university’s campus and to give young people more things to do uptown, which is home to a series of bars. 

“[Rosebud] opens up this whole new environment for students,” Upreti said. “We definitely needed this other than just the bars.” 

Families and people of all ages attended Rosebud on Saturday. The mixture of vendors selling clothing, home goods and other vintage trinkets guaranteed everyone could find something. 

For Lauren Frias of Third & Plum Co., Rosebud’s summer sendoff was her first time vending in person. She’d previously focused exclusively on online sales of vintage home goods using Etsy and her Instagram. 

“They sent me an email they were looking for vendors, and I was like, ‘what the hell?’” Frias said with a laugh. 

In an interview last month, Brake said Rosebud was conducting outreach to local vintage sellers inviting them to the day’s event. Saturday saw first-timers like Frias as well as those who have participated regularly at Rosebud since its inception, like Towson Vintage Clothing, which alternates with Bmore Flea, a similar market in Baltimore City. 

Others only occasionally sold at Rosebud, like Kenny Campos of Silver Spring, Maryland. Last summer he set up his booth Take2 By Kenny for the first time ever at Rosebud. 

Hoping to meet younger members of the veteran community, members of the American Legion had their own table. Commander Anita Stewart-Hammerer found herself “impressed as far as the continuous crowd” entering the lot. 

“I was very pleasantly surprised,” she said. 

Historically, Rosebud has been a weekly event. After its initial stint at Radebaugh, it took a break before returning for a couple of months, setting up inside at Barley’s Backyard Uptown. There, the vendor capacity decreased from around 30 to 20. 

But Brake is now considering going bigger. He said Rosebud will transition to a monthly event, hopefully maintaining around 60 vendors each time, but he doesn’t have many details yet for the long term. 

Regardless of the decision, there will likely be a crowd eager to search through racks and piles of vintage clothing at Rosebud. 

“It’s been electric since 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Brake said as the day came to a close. “It’s so nice that Towson has a community that likes this kinda stuff…I love all the smiles that come in here.” 


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