The Auburn Antiques Street Fair was held today. I almost didn’t go for fear of the parking nightmare I knew would await me. The vendors start setting up at 3:00 a.m. and shoppers are allowed to come join them, flashlights in hand, to score the best deals. The fair officially opens at 7:00 a.m. I finished morning chores at 8:00 and decided to take my chances and head into town to see if I could get within walking distance of the fair. Please understand that walking distance for me is not all that far.
When I pulled off the highway I knew I was in trouble. The parking lot was full and the few parallel parking spots on the streets were taken too. I decided to find a place to turn around and head back home when I noticed a car pulling out of the courthouse parking lot. I figured that was just some other hapless fool like myself looking for a place to park, but I turned in anyway, just in case. Then I saw it, a parking place in the first row, three spaces down, within walking distance of the street fair. I whipped my car into the spot before someone could sneak in and take it from me. I got out of my car, the smell of victory in the air. The courthouse, built in 1894, the same year as my house, loomed over me.
I unloaded my wheeled shopping cart from the trunk, slung my purse and camera over my shoulder, and I was off to the street fair, what is always a pleasant adventure for me. The courthouse sits on the top of a hill which was used in the mid 1800’s as a site for bear fights and public hangings. Today it was my gateway to tarnished silver and other vintage treasures. Just getting down to the fair was a feat in itself. As I see it, our forefathers didn’t think the location of this town through very well. They picked the hilliest part of the entire area to build on. The streets are steep, so steep in places that the sidewalks are steps with handrails. As I headed down to the action in my $4.00 flip flops, I felt like I was on a tour of the Winchester Mystery house. These gals know what I’m talking about.
I knew the trip down with an empty cart would pale in comparison to the one back up with it full, but it was all worth it when I rounded the corner. Old Town, as this area is called, is a series of streets that meet awkwardly at this spot. You can see the post office, in continuous operation since 1878, the old red and white striped fire station and the water trestle. I wish I could show you pictures of how it looked back in the day, but I don’t have permission. I’ll need to look into that for another post. Now, on to the antique fair.
When I reached the bottom I had to decide if I would stay to the right or the left, cover both sides of each street before moving on, and whether or not I could manage to pull my cart, take pictures, shop and drink coffee at the same time. I decided to pass on the coffee and begin the search for treasures.
This guy didn’t make the cut. Bye-Bye.
The fair had something for everybody, including vintage lingerie and hats for the ladies.
And, an old film developer and tripod for the photographer.
Lots of gardening stuff.
And toys for collectors, still in their boxes.
This Chid’s buggy, circa 1875 really caught my eye! it is hard to tell in the photo but the buggy is huge and I had no way to get this home.
But I still looked.
The fair was not without its share of items that creeped me out a bit. Like this one.
There was another item that caught my eye too, but not in a good way. It was a vintage gas mask. Briefly, I gave it a thought, just for those times when I Tucker sleeps in my bed and passes gas. This would be perfect, but Michael and I would be fighting over it all the time. Look, it’s just $35.00 and worth every penny, but I moved on. See that telephone cord on the right? That item would make the cut and become the day’s pièce de résistance.
By this time my cart was full and my wallet was empty. I couldn’t remember if I was staying to the left or to the right so I decided to start the trudge back up the hill to my car. Along with the pièce de résistance, I had some really cool things in my cart and I was excited to get home. I put one foot in front of the other, leaned into the hill, and began the climb. A tactical mistake on my part landed me at the base of a steep set of steps leading back up to the courthouse parking lot.
I couldn’t fathom walking all the way back down the hill and around, so I tackled the steps, pulling my cart up each step. I got almost to the top when something happened that truly surprised me. A young boy walking with his family ran over and offered to carry my cart up the steps for me. I almost fell back down. Chivalry may not be dead after-all!
I was home by 11:00 after a good morning at the antique fair. Here’s what I bought.
Various and sundry vintage, rusty, and tarnished kitchen items for using as food photography props.
An adorable chicken nest box made out of a metal pail. I am sensing turf wars over this.
And I found the faux rooster mate to my faux hen! He’s a little worse for wear but charming.
I fell in love with this old window frame with vintage mirror.
Another favorite is this old produce scale with great patina. I hung it outside the dining room on the porch, and filled it with pinecones. You weigh your pinecones, right? Mine weigh just over a pound.
And now, without further adieu, the Pièce de résistance, a brass candlestick telephone from 1910! And the best part, it has been retrofitted to work! Really, call me!
It is missing the round part that goes in the middle of the dial but I can find one to fit. When I get a phone jack installed, the telephone will live in the foyer, on this table. I love it! I have been looking for one side we moved into this house.
I had a great time today and so glad I made the effort to go. Next time I am going to wake up Michael to go with me. He can carry stuff.
Added a couple of pictures:
The morning sun streams in through the leaded glass front doors, making this the perfect place for the new old phone!