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Alma's Flea Market Monday sale

Customers browse for bargains Monday at Alma's Flea Market in this file photo. 

Garfield, the grumpy cartoon cat, famously hates Mondays. But, would that still be the case if he lived in Hanford and had access to Alma’s Flea Market?

I don’t think so.

I’ve driven past the Alma’s sign on my way into work for the past few months but never thought much of it until passing by on Monday when it was packed with people and tents and food trucks. I swerved off the 198 like I was a one of the Dukes of Hazzard — or perhaps like I was Vin Diesel in “The Fast & The Furious,” if you’d prefer a pop culture reference that isn’t horribly dated.

I started off my visit by getting some of the tastiest, cheapest asada tacos I’ve had in a long while.

“Go easy on the red sauce. It’s hot,” the woman who took my order said.

I would have been offended at her assumption that I can’t handle the spiciest of foods if not for the fact that the red sauce was, in fact, very, very spicy. 

As I ate them, though, I realized there’s something kind of peaceful and nostalgic about eating while in earshot of roosters crowing, even if it’s well past sunrise.

Alma’s is a fun place full of good deals and stuff I didn’t even know I needed to buy, like an incense holder shaped like King Tut’s sarcophagus and a hoodie with Cheech & Chong as zombies — the perfect accessory for the Hanford Fox Theatre’s upcoming screening of the duo’s classic comedy “Up in Smoke” on April 20.  

In a weird juxtaposition to the DIY “shop local” vibe of the flea market, though, was the occasional tent set up trying to entice me with cable television packages.  And while I already have  cable television I rarely watch, provided by a company I can barely stand, the fact that the Direct TV tent had a banner of the Starz channel’s “Ash vs. Evil Dead” show made me briefly consider signing up for whatever they were selling, provided they threw in the banner.

Parker Bowman

Parker Bowman

I’ve decided, though, that I’ll be going to the flea market every Monday, at least for lunch, but probably also to buy cheap socks because I hate doing the laundry.

Are there any other cool places in town that I, a Hanford newbie, should check out? What are the fun under-the-radar spots? Actually, I’m so new to town that you could probably give me a few over-the-radar spots. Email me at and let me know.

Vertigo in the Valley

You may have noticed that after a few nameless weeks, this column finally has a name: Valley Vertigo.

I named it that because I have come to love Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, “Vertigo,” because I love alliteration and also because I was afraid no one would get the Pantera joke if I named it “Vulgar Display of Parker.”

The Visalia Fox Theatre screened the film last week and I couldn’t have been giddier about the situation.  The 1958 film has become one of my favorite movies in the last few years.

Jimmy Stewart plays a man driven to obsession in finding out why an old friend’s wife may or may not be possessed by the spirit of an ancestor. Or maybe he’s just obsessed with the way she looks in that gray suit. 

Either way, he’s obsessed — and that’s kind of what this column is, so I thought it was a good fit. Also, whenever I get close to my deadline, I have an out-of-body experience similar to Stewart’s dream sequence at the film’s halfway point.

If you missed the Visalia Fox’s screening of the film, Fathom Events is bringing it back to the Valley as part of the film’s 60th anniversary. It will screen multiple times Sunday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 21 at the Fresno Stadium 22, the Bakersfield Stadium 14 and the Downtown Center Cinema in San Luis Obispo.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’ll be screening any closer, but it’s worth the drive and the long drive home will afford you the time to obsess over the film. 

Parker Bowman is a staff reporter for the Hanford Sentinel, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ Parker_THS or send an email to

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