Before I lived in Texas I had never heard of the Round Top Antiques fair. Which is amazing to me considering that it is the largest antiques fair in the country. How big am I talking about? Over 300 acres of antiques, cool finds and crafts. 300 acres. Wow.
It’s right here in central Texas, halfway between Austin and Houston in a tiny town called Round Top. Actually it’s spread between Round Top, Carmine (pronounced CAR-meen), and Warrenton, all teeny-weeny towns of less than 100 people. But tents are set up twice a year (the first Wednesday-Saturday of April and October usually) and hordes descend on this cute little area. Most visitors are women but I am lucky enough to be married to a man who loves to shop like I do. So we set out for Round Top last week and had a grand time. This was Mister’s favorite booth at The Red Barn:
Let me explain how it works in case you happen to go sometime. North of Round Top you’ll find the Big Red Barn. You can’t miss it because, well, it’s a big red barn in the middle of a field. This is one of the major shows. You’ll pay an admission fee to get in to the barn and the other big tents that are nearby (usually it’s $10). Parking is free. There are mostly antiques here. Dealers from all over the country set up makeshift booths and exhibits. Some items are gorgeous and fancy, some a little more modest but this place it mostly upscale. I did find the booth of a woman that sold nothing but vintage buttons. It was so overwhelming that I left with my hands empty even though I adore buttons. I also found a darling cupboard that would have looked fantastic in my kitchen. But I don’t happen to have $1500 sitting around.
If you head south towards Warrenton you’ll pass all sorts of tents that are full of antiques, collectibles and miscellaneous stuff. Stop at these as you wish. These little areas are all run separately so it’s hard to say from year to year which sellers will be there and what they’ll be selling. The crazy thing about Round Top is that nobody is in charge. There is no master planner. All these tents and buildings are rented and run separately. Most of the smaller areas are free. You could easily spend days snooping around Round Top. It’s that big.
Halfway to Warrenton is Marburger Farms. This is the biggest of all the antiques venues. This year it was something like 40 acres. It has everything from fancy French armoires to adorable baby shoes–mostly antiques but there are plenty of things that are vintage as well. And some things that just look vintage. There is more of an eclectic collection of items at Marburger. Marburger requires a separate admission (also $10 this year). Your admission at each venue is good for the entire weekend. You could end up spending quite a bit of money just on admissions alone. But if you’re bothering to come this far, who really cares?
Down towards Warrenton is where most of the action is. Most of it is free too. There are some really fun and funky places like Zapp Hall. Most of these areas tend to be more vintage and flea-marketish. You can find a lot of seriously weird and cool stuff. There are tons of craft stalls set up around the area too. So much fun. And lots of interesting food options too. I may or may not have spent $8 on a homemade Ding Dong the size of a salad plate. It was heavenly–what you imagine a Ding Dong ought to taste like.
Here are some of the wacky/cool/unusual things I found this year.
Did you know this much purple glass even existed? Me neither. But I really think it’s pretty.
An assortment of racially insensitive salt and pepper shakers.
This week’s preparedness item is mermaids. Everybody stock up!
I keep forgetting to eat lard. Maybe if I had a nifty holder on the table I’d remember.
Well, shoot! If only I’d thought to look at our Scrabble game before we left. We’re missing about six tiles and I can’t remember which ones.
Of course you can get vintage Cowboy boots. It’s Texas. Duh.
My brain was thoroughly worn out by the time we left. Mister kept saying on our way home, “why didn’t you tell me how cool this was? We’re definitely going again in April!” Yes, it’s certainly a trip worth taking.