The first Saturday of each month, from March through December, brings thousands of treasure seekers and shop-a-holics to the little village of Wimberley, Texas. Although Wimberley is always a popular getaway with all the shopping, dining, and bed and breakfast choices, Wimberley Market Days, the oldest and largest outdoor market in the Hill Country, hosts more than 475 vendors and welcomes thousands of shoppers.
What started out in 1964 as a market on the Wimberley Square, with local vendors selling food, animals, furniture, and their artwork out of the back of their pickup trucks, outgrew that location. A much larger space was needed to accommodate vendors and shoppers. In 1972, the Wimberley Lions Club assumed the management and organization of the ever-growing market and purchased 19 acres of land on FM 2325, now known as Lions Market Day Field.
Over the years, the market has grown to more than 475 vendors from Houston, Corpus Christi, Dallas, San Antonio, and around the state, offering everything you just can’t live without. With so many vendors, it’s difficult to see all there is to offer and many shoppers return month after month.
This isn’t your typical flea market. Here you’ll find everything from arts & crafts, plants, jewelry, fossils, quilts, clothing, antiques, collectibles, food, toys, to Zane Grey. You’ll find things at Market Days that will jog childhood memories, handmade items by artists and craftsmen, and you’ll find new and unusual items as well as the old but not forgotten. Some vendors offer samples of their tamales, butters, salsas, jellies, dips and roasted nuts.
Wimberley Lions Market Days is unique, unlike most other markets, as the Lions donate 100% of their profits from the market to charities, scholarships, and local organizations. As of November 2009, this all-volunteer organization has awarded more than $3,000,000 to non-profit groups.
The Lions sponsor the food booths and offer plenty of options, including bar-b-que plates (beef, pork, sausage, chicken) and sandwiches, sausage wraps, smoked turkey legs, nachos, breakfast tacos, chicken tender baskets, fries, corn dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers and more. Visitors can also purchase popcorn, ice cream, funnel cakes, coffee, hot chocolate, soft drinks, shaved ice, and sweets. Cold beer on tap is available at the Hilltop Ice House.
Shoppers can enjoy a break at the spacious, covered pavilion beside the BBQ House; sit in the shade eat, drink, rest and listen to the music of area musicians. There are plenty of clean rest room facilities conveniently located by the pavilion and around the market.
It takes a volunteer staff of more than 200 workers each market day to operate the market, not to mention the many hours of meetings and preparation prior to each market. For everyone involved, it’s a wonderful example of a community working together toward a common good.
In addition to the Lions, local organizations who receive scholarships and donations from the market, assist in cooking brisket; preparing and serving bar-b-que dinners; managing, ordering, stocking and working in concession stands; manning parking lots and information booths; leasing and transferring booths; scheduling workers; scheduling merchandise pick-ups and performing many other responsibilities. The Ambassadors, who act as liaisons between the Lions and vendors, hand out vendor’s monthly newsletters, listen to any problems and refer them to Lions to resolve, distribute vendor badges and parking permits and in October, make sure each vendor has a contract to renew their booth for the following year.
There is no charge for admission to Market Days, but there is a charge for parking in the lots conveniently located across the road from Wimberley Market Days. Pets are not allowed at Wimberley Market Days, with the exception of service dogs.
If you think you’d like to become a Market Day vendor, but are not quite ready to commit to an annual lease, give it a try with a day booth. Day booths rent for $60 for the day. Online day booth registration begins at 1 p.m. Thursday the week of Market Days and continues until Friday at 10 p.m.
Wimberley Market Days is located at Lions Field, 601 RR 2325 in Wimberley, Texas, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio, north of San Marcos. Motor coach tours are welcome. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangement and receive materials for your group. Visit the website www.shopmarketdays.com for a list of all products sold or to view a printed directory. You can search online for vendors who sell the items you’re looking for and plan your trip, or come to the market and shop our 19 acres of tree-shaded paths. For more information about Market Days call the Wimberley Visitor Center, 512-847-2201
Wimberley Market Days Features • More than 475 booths • 7 Concession stands located throughout the market • Live Entertainment on two stages • Free directory with complete listing of vendors and their products (available on our website or at the Information Booth on days of operation) • Free maps of the 19 acre market • Covered pavilion with tables and seating • Hilltop Ice House, serving cold beer on tap • Clean rest room facilities with flushing toilets located throughout the field