Want to do something completely overwhelming? Visit Texas Antiques Week. Twice a year, a collection of cities near Round Top, Texas, put on the largest antiques fair you’ve ever seen. The next one runs from September 18th- October 4th.
I was a little confused about how it all worked, but now I hope you can benefit from my first-hand experience. Basically, there are 50+ antique fairs happening simultaneously (some only operate on certain days, but luckily there’s a handy schedule for that!) throughout the cities of Round Top and Warrenton. There is no one place it’s happening – it’s happening everywhere. Look at one show for a bit, then drive down the road to the next show that looks interesting. So to start, just set your GPS for either Round Top or Warrenton and as you get closer, you’ll start to see the antique shops lining the streets. This was a little difficult for our family, because we like to know exactly where we are going, but we made it just fine. Here is a little map that might help you, from the Texas Antiques Week website. We stumbled upon the Blue Hills at Round Top show and spent the majority of our time there, eventually heading over to the County Line shows. Most of the shows are free, with free parking, but a few are paid. See my comments below, but I’d suggest sticking to the free shows. There is PLENTY to look at. As you can see, I was so overwhelmed, I only took a few photos.
Based on my experience, I have a few tips I’d like to share. Please remember, these are my tips – it’s what I’d say to a friend. I’m sure everyone has a different way of doing Texas Antiques Week, but these are my suggestions:
1. Unless you have some pressing reason to, avoid the paid fairs. After talking to a few people who run the smaller* antique booths, I learned a lot of the people come and buy from the free places, then take the items (marked up, of course) and resell them at the larger paid fairs. Based on the chatter I heard, the paid fairs just aren’t worth it. *This is the TEXAS Antiques Fair, even the ‘small’ booths are overwhelmingly huge)
2. Have a list of things you’d like to purchase in hand. Otherwise, you’ll be like me – wandering wide-eyed at all the items for sale – and you won’t buy anything. If you say, “I need a unique coffee table for my living room,” you’ll have a much more successful day.
3. Similar to #2, set a budget. If I’d said, “I’ll spend $50,” I could have found something I liked and purchased it. Basically, you need a game plan. Whether you become a deer in the headlights when faced with the sheer amount of antiques, or you become a shopaholic, a game plan will make for a smoother, more enjoyable day.
4. Don’t worry about parking, you’ll find some. Most of it is just in dirt lots, but its there. Everyone has a car (or trailer), so there are places to park at each show.
5. Be ready for a long day. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be there all from sun up to sun down (maybe even several days). Plan accordingly. Bring lots of water, comfortable clothes and shoes, and food/snacks. The larger shows sell food (Blue Hills did), but the problem is that EVERYONE wants to eat there. We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes to get our food. Round Top and Warrenton are little towns, so you’re not going to stop at the local Denny’s or anything like that. I would suggest bringing a picnic style lunch to eat at your car. OR just keep an eye on the food lines. Eating lunch at 12:30pm probably wasn’t the smartest idea on our part.
6. Leave the pets at home. There are so many people and the shows are packed with antiques. It’d be pretty difficult to walk a dog through the narrow aisles.
7. Serious about antiques? Bring a trailer or U-Haul. Pretty much everyone had a large car or truck at the very least. People don’t mess around at Texas Antiques Week. If you plan on doing some serious shopping, bring the U-Haul. Don’t be embarrassed – plenty of people do it!
All that being said, I’m really looking forward to this fall’s show. Now that we know what to expect, I know my family and I will have a much less stressful, more enjoyable day. If this will be your first visit to Texas Antiques Week, I hope this little guide helps you! Just take slow, deep breaths, drink your water, eat your snacks, and admire all the beautiful things you can buy. Let me know how it goes!