May 10, 2011: Changing of the Guard at The Flea Market

After 28 years at the helm of The Flea Market at Eastern Market, including 19 years in the Hine School Yard at 7th & C Streets SE on Sundays; Tom Rall has decided to step down from day-to-day management of the market effective Sunday, May 15.
"I am turning those duties over to Diverse Markets Management (DMM), a company in which I am a shareholder," Rall announced in a recent letter to exhibitors. "In particular the ship now will be sailed by DMM President Michael Berman."
Berman first joined the Flea Market management team in April 2005. At the time, Rall wrote, "Michael will wear many hats. But primarily he will concentrate on identifying opportunities for expansion of our show management business." DMM was formed within the next few months and launched its flagship Downtown Holiday Market in December 2005 in partnership with the Downtown BID. Several other markets and special events have followed under DMM leadership.
In the meantime, Mike also served as Director of Communications for The Flea Market at Eastern Market. He piloted facelifts ad management of both our website,, and our newsletters and redesigned market maps following the April 2007 Eastern Market fire and subsequent construction of the temporary East Hall on the Hine School playground.  He has also served as Director of Programming and developed and ran both our Food at the Flea and Music in the Yard programs.
Rall said, "Last year I signed up for Medicare and next month I'll start receiving my Social Security retirement benefits, so I thought it'd be a good time to begin to wind down. But, primarily, I have tired of trying to fight City Hall," noting that the District of Columbia took over a significant portion of the Sunday outdoor market in 2009 and possibly appears poised to take over the rest of the business. He said a recent task force report expected to lead to new Eastern Market legislation ignored a key automatic renewal provision in the current agreement with the city.
"After investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into developing The Flea Market at Eastern Market, which became my life's work; I am confident it will be in good hands going forward," Rall continued, "And I believe Mike will have  the energy to see that the city honors the current lease, which contains an automatic renewal until construction commences on the redevelopment of the Hine School site," which is presently not expected to begin until 2013.
Rall said he would continue to be an exhibitor at the flea market and also a consultant to DMM. "I really want to thank both our customers and our exhibitors for supporting us all these years. Together, with the help of a great management team, we created one of the best, most diverse, flea markets in the world. We can be proud of that."

The WellnessWORKS Farmers Market, produced by DMM in partnership with the US Government, will launch its 2011 season on Wednesday, May 11.  The Market, now in its second year, is part of the WellnessWORKS initiative, a program to educate and stimulate federal government employees about health and wellness issues.  It is held 10 am to 2 pm every Wednesday throughout the growing season at the DC campus of the OPM building at 1900 E St NW.
The market will feature fresh produce, plants and flowers, breads, preserves and other producer-made, healthy, nutritious and locally sourced products.

Details available at

In other DMM news, the busy Berman also reminded that applications are still being accepted for the 2011 Art Market at the annual Arts on Foot festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 10 & 11.  Marking its 19th anniversary, The Washington Examiner's Arts on Foot is Washington DC's premier outdoor arts festival.  Spanning four city blocks, the event kicks off the Fall arts season and showcases the best that Downtown DC has to offer. 

Held in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery as its backdrop, the festival features a juried fine arts market now in its third year of DMM management, food sampling courts with 30 high-end restaurants, a wine sampling area, three entertainment stages and a multitude of arts organizations.  Arts on Foot is produced by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District in cooperation with DMM and the Pennsylvania Quarter Neighborhood Association.
Application for the art market is available online through the May 27 deadline. Complete information and application are available at