For the founder of the Dania Marine Flea Market, having such a nautical-themed event was many years in the making. Al Behrendt owned and managed the Nautical Yacht Basin and thought that it should be possible to find second homes for many of the used or obsolete merchandise that he stored. In 1979, his idea was realized when a group of South Florida marine businesses gathered on the parking lot and create an outlet for overstocked and used marine items. Decades later, this flea market is still going strong, proving that Al was certainly on to something with his idea!
The uniqueness of the Dania Marine Flea Market was one of the factors that made it an immediate success with vendors, boaters, fishermen, and divers alike. Additionally, from the get-go, there was a wide variety of nationally recognized vendors, who were thrilled at the chance to get together with like-minded folk and share their treasures. Finally, the bargains that were available on sale here had never before been available, and this sealed the deal in cementing the Dania Marine Flea Market as a staple, annual event in the city.
Initially, the Dania Marine Flea Market took place over a weekend, though this was later expanded to take up four days, usually sometime in spring. The flea market expanded over the years and now sees over 300 individual vendors spreading out over 1000 spaces. The sheer size meant that the market needed a new location, and it can now be found at Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach.
Today, the Dania Marine Flea Market is the largest event of its type in the world. Visitors come from all over the world to browse through acres of used marine equipment, coral encrusted antiques, new and used boats, fishing tackle, diving gear, marine artwork, and other nautical treasures. This flea market offers an informal, almost party-like, atmosphere, where shoppers can enjoy a wide variety of good food and all sorts of beverages while they wander the aisles.