One of the most impressive things about the Finnish summer is the long days. It feels as though the sun never sets – which it doesn’t during the midsummer. Luckily there are events in Turku that take the advantage of the bright evenings, such as Kirjakahvila’s flea market nights.
Kirjakahvila – or Book Café in English – is located at Brinkkala Inner Court (Brinkkalan Piha), where you can see and feel the atmosphere of Old Turku. Kirjakahvila is a mostly volunteer-run vegan café that also hosts various cultural and societal events throughout the year, such as the flea market nights. One of Kirjakahvila’s goals is to be non-commercial, which is why their events always have free entry, and the vending spaces for flea markets are free as well – which is quite unusual in Finland.
This summer’s first flea market night took place on the 17th of June from 18.00 onwards, where I also tested out my skills in sales. As mentioned before, Kirjakahvila’s location in the centre of Old Turku creates its own kind of atmosphere, which you can find in only a few places. Furthermore, the atmosphere during the flea market night had its own kind of magic.
Because it was during the evening, the people who came in to look for bargains and to see what others were offering did so with a slow pace. No one was in a hurry because the work day was over and all the necessary errands and chores that one must do on a Saturday were finished. I think that this mood caught on to the vendors as well. They were relaxed, and happily explained the stories behind certain items they were selling. Kirjakahvila had requested that only used items be sold at the flea market, which meant that the prices were reasonable and there was always room to haggle.
During the evening music was provided by dj Fake Fag, which complemented the relaxed feeling. I have never encountered a flea market that has live music- and I’ve been to many in different countries – which was something that made Kirjakahvila’s evening flea market very special. It also created a tranquil mood that suited the warm summer evening. Even though the flea market was planned to end at 21.00, the customers and vendors were in no hurry to leave. In fact, the next flea markets do not have a fixed ending time – they go as long as people want them to.