Amblin’ Alameda: The Antiques Faire

Amblin’ Alameda: The Antiques Faire

Morton Chalfy

Last Sunday - the first of the month - I was fortunate enough to be treated to a professional’s view of the Antiques Faire held at the north end of Alameda Point. My guides were a pair of young women, one striking brunette and the other a fiery redhead, who are both collectors and resellers. I had been warned to wear my walking shoes and bring my energy and I tried to do both. The shoes were easy, the energy less so.

We met at the entrance, paid our admission fees and set out down the main aisle.

“We start at the rear, where the lowest prices usually are found,” said one of my guides, who proceeded to lead us at up-tempo march speed to the very far end of the Faire. From there we wound our way up one row of booths and down the other being careful not to miss any.

I like this kind of market where the vendors show up two hours before the crack of dawn to lay out their wares, ready for the first customers to arrive with the first rays of the sun.

Admission to the Faire starts at $15 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then drops to $5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The last hour, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., is free. The higher admission for the first two hours is so that serious buyers have first crack at the best and newest additions to the vendor’s offerings.

We went after 9 a.m. since as resellers my guides were not interested in paying any extra for anything. For my lovely companions the interest was in the merchandise and their conversation consisted mostly of “Hey, look at this,” and “Did you see that (whatever)? Nice, but too expensive.” My interest was more on the assortment of people filling the aisles and staffing the booths. Both groups contained a significant number of “characters” who distinguished themselves through dress, make-up and/or accoutrements.

Many people brought or rented shopping carts of various designs to wheel their purchases around, which was an excellent idea. Other observations: As an amble, covering the Faire is a darn long walk. My companions were many decades younger than I and kept the pace up so that when the day was over my legs were happy for the rest. Food trucks and booths line the sides of the grounds and the longest line was for home-made huge sausages on a bun. They looked interesting and had a good reputation with my ladies but the line was so long as to be totally daunting, especially for one who was looking for a place to sit and bide-a-wee.

Overall it was a terrific experience. One of the more interesting walks available, even without the presence of my terrific guides. Wear comfortable shoes, comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing (the weather can change quickly there along the Bay), bring water and snacks or food or both and a little money. The suggestions come from my guides and proved to be accurate and helpful.

Who knows how long this Faire will survive as the plans for Alameda Point move on apace and could possibly displace this event someday. And that would be a shame as one sees a larger variety of interesting people per square foot there than anywhere else in Alameda.