The afternoon air was hot and humid as David Deming, a bus driver for the Town of Chapel Hill, tended a pan of hot dogs set on top of an open flame. A plate of stacked buns, a salad, a dish containing rice and sausage and bunches of bananas sat on his beige folding table.
Market attendees referred to him as the man who supplies the food — every first Saturday of each month for the last 11 years, save for a couple of exceptions, Deming has been at the Really Really Free Market giving out whatever food he has to offer.
“It’s so cool to see a community that’s built around this idea of giving stuff away,” Deming said.
The Really Really Free Market, an anti-capitalist event, held its monthly gathering on Saturday, marking thirteen years in Carrboro. Everything at the market is free. There is no bartering, no limit on the amount one can take or give and no monetary value assigned to any items or services provided.
The Really Really Free Market originally paid to use the Carrboro Town Commons property. Event organizers then protested the fee and now no longer pay to rent the space.
Lines of tables were littered with everything from clothing to books to cupcakes. A violinist played in the corner of the market as people wandered between each table, picking up whatever caught their eye. While most items at the market could be found at any garage sale, there were a few things that are unique to the spirit of the Really Really Free Market.
Leah Elliott, a self-described writer, poet, teacher and journeyer, sat next to a sign that read “RAW ORGANIC POETRY."
Elliott offered a poem to anyone who asked. She began writing poems at the Really Really Free Market last month in order to overcome any fears of writing for other people without being able to edit her work. Elliott now plans to make her poetry booth a regular part of the market.
“I’m happy to see things like this going on where people are taking an active part in trying to create an alternative to the status quo,” Elliott said.
A group from the Grace Bridge Church in Carrboro set up a table at this month’s market as a way to meet community members and provide commonly needed items to those who couldn't afford them.
“We love seeing the community come together and also being able to give back,” said Andrea Propst, wife of the Grace Bridge Church pastor.
Paralegal Gina Balamucki said the Really Really Free Market has an environment that is difficult to find anywhere else, with a mix of people from all walks of life. She said for her the market is a magical place.
“This is a place that you know people are going to be interested in engaging as people and not engaging through the lense of commerce,” Balamucki said. “I really appreciate the diversity of people that come here."
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