Would you smile if you saw an old board game, just like one you used to own and remember playing with your friends? Would you get a kick out of seeing a model toy train, similar to the set you had when you were seven? Perhaps you’ll fondly remember setting up tracks on your family’s dining room table, with your mother begrudgingly shaking her head. Would it deliver smiles to see a favorite doll from your youth again, like the one you often merrily rocked in your arms? If an old board game, a toy train or a beloved doll from childhood evokes emotion, you’ll likely enjoy antiquing. From sturdy furniture artfully crafted with care to vintage candy Pez dispensers, there are many unique items of great interest and value. Antiques, one-of-a kind finds and kitschy items are available year round in indoor shops across America, though spring and fall are optimal seasons for antiquing, especially if you live in the North. It is during these seasons when the weather can be our friend, void of the frigidness of winter and the intense heat of summer. It’s also the time of year dealers gather together to showcase the best of what they’ve got. In warmer places, antique fairs are held year round. Here’s some you’ll want to check out:
Midwest Antique & Art and The Collector’s Eye Show; Cedar Rapids, IA: Folks are marking their calendars for the 52nd show on Sunday, October 28, from 10am to 4pm at the Hawkeye Downs Fairground. Admission is $8 to shop a vast array of distinctive antiques, arts and collectibles. The Midwest and Antique Arts Show opened its doors in 1986 and is well-known for its emphasis on Americana and related accessories. Come see the booths which display quality antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries, through Mid-Century Modern.
Antiques & Vintage Holiday Gift Show; Concord, MA: Organized by the New England Antiques Shows, this event is scheduled to take place on December 8th from 10 am to 5 pm and Dec. 9th from 11 am to 4 pm. The show features unique holiday gifts, including 19th century furniture, antique buttons, art nouveau pottery, china, porcelain, fine estate and antique jewelry, linens, brass and copper items, Victorian and vintage items, ribbons, historic flasks and more.
Annual Bob Phillip’s Country Reporter Festival; Waxahachie, TX: This is the largest Festival held in Waxahachie, with over 300 vendors lining the streets of the beautiful historic town and square. Browse booths and shops in the historic district, enjoy musical performances and join the alumni from the Texas Country Reporter Series. The day begins with a kick-off Festival, with grand entry to the city. Visitors are invited to explore the festival and see the talented artists and craftsmen, while eating delicious food. This fun-filled day takes place on Saturday, October 27, from 9am to 7 pm.
Brandi Fenton Antique and Country Fairs; Tucson, AZ: This outdoor Antique Fair is held on the third Sunday of every month, starting in October and continuing to the third Sunday in March, from 9:00 am to 3pm. The fair features arts and crafts, like pottery and glass jewelry, during the months of March and October. November through February features antiques and related items only. This event takes place at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park and is free is free to the public.
Renningers Antiques Extravaganza; Kutztown, PA: Featuring hundreds of dealers from all over the country, collectors arrive to buy and sell things between one another and to sell to the general public. The show runs from September 27 to September 29th, with the main Extravaganza Field opening Thursday at 10 am. Saturday morning usually begins with an addition of 100 to 200 new exhibitors, replacing some that have moved on. The show runs rain or shine. Pay daily or a one-time admission price of $15, good for all three days.
Burlington Antique Show; Burlington, KY: This event is scheduled for Sunday, October 21 from 8 am to 3 pm, with $3 admission, ages 12 and under free. Located on the Boone County Fairgrounds, and featuring more than 200 vendors, come browse the antiques, vintage jewelry and furniture, primitives, American art and memorabilia, architectural elements, and mid-century collectibles. Early buying takes place from 6 am to 8 am with a $5 admission charge.
Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market; Long Beach, CA: Come explore 20 acres of bargains from days gone by at this awesome market. Held on the 3rd Sunday of every month, this year-round outdoor market features over 800 vendors. What’s great about it is that every item for sale must be antique or collectible, so you won’t waste time getting to heart of finding true antiques.
You don’t have to be a collector to enjoy these types of events. Go for the simple pleasure of seeing old-fashioned, vintage items which help us reconnect with our past. If you can’t make it to one of these places, have fun checking out antique shops, auctions, barn sales, trading posts or second-hand shops in your neck of the woods. Even the occasional flea market or yard sale can capture one’s attention. While I am not a collector, enjoyment stems from repurposing old items to be useful, such as finding an old sturdy basket to hold mail. I enjoy taking trips down memory lane, spotting rare, useful items of memorable or historical nature, and observing the quality of fine craftsmanship. Tattered and time-worn objects, such as a faded photograph or an old set of china with missing pieces, have special meaning as they evoke feelings of nostalgia and serve as perfect reminders of days gone by.
Due to space limitations, we are only able to showcase some of the many antique fairs across our beautiful country. Therefore, we whole-heartedly welcome you to share your own experiences.
EIGHT GREAT ANTIQUING TIPS:
- Dress for all weather as most shows run rain or shine.
- Wear comfortable shoes as lots of walking is involved.
- Eat a healthy breakfast to supply yourself with energy.
- Arrive early as the early bird gets the worm.
- If shopping for a specific item, do your research ahead of time.
- Go through the shows two or three times, so as to not miss anything.
- Set a budget before going to avoid overspending.
- Negotiate whenever possible.