.Faire Gains

The past is up for grabs every month in downtown Santa Cruz

“Even if you don’t need it, you might just have to have it. And we’ve probably got it!”

Bonnie Belcher is talking to me about the Santa Cruz Antique Faire, held on the second Sunday of every month, from 8am-5pm, on Lincoln Street between Pacific and Cedar.

“What’s there?” I ask.

“Fifty vendors offering an eclectic blend of antiques and unique items, vintage clothing, collectibles and ephemera. Items from high end to low end, and everything in between.”

Explaining why people keep coming to this recurring fair, Belcher says, “It’s a social event. People see these vendors every month and they all get to know each other. They come down and sit and talk. Or maybe the vendor has something special for that person. They know what they collect. It’s a very laid-back event.”

“But they’re having a ball,” I observe.

“Yes, and I want to make sure that our customers realize we are still downtown just as we’ve always been on the second Sunday of the month. We’re on Facebook and Instagram, santacruzantiquefaire.”

I tell her, “I was getting drunk with some Frenchmen across the parking lot who said, ‘Richard, Sleepy John Sandidge is selling his vintage records at the Faire.’ I staggered over and had the time of my life.”

“Everybody loves Sleepy John and his records. He’s got some awesome old posters too. John is a great addition to the show,” Belcher says.

On the topic of haggling, Belcher observes, “Dickering is appropriate, depending. A long time ago when I was still a vendor, I had an item for sale with an original price tag of $1 on it from like 60 years before, and the customer asked, ‘Would you take 50 cents?’

“That’s pretty funny,” I say.

“Most people have some finesse, and they’ll say, ‘Is this your best price?’ or ‘Can you do any better?’ Generally, the vendor, depending on what they have in it, will work with the customer.”

Belcher explains the fair’s origins. “It was started in 1993 to bring people back downtown after the earthquake. I was a vendor then, I have been a vendor rather than a promoter most of my life. My first spot was right in front of the hole where Gottschalks used to be. The show first started on Pacific Avenue. Then we moved to Lincoln Street, which is absolutely the best location downtown for us, right?”

“What happens when they start building the garage?” I ask.

“What garage? Ha, ha! Seriously, we want to stay on Lincoln and use the other parking lot, on the other side of the street. We definitely want to stay downtown,” Belcher responds.

“What kinds of antiques and collectibles will we see?” I ask.

“Some of our most popular items are ’80s toys, jewelry, LP records and vintage clothing. People also seem to enjoy old enamel signs and advertising tins, which are hard to find. We usually have a pretty great variety of vintage garden items as well, like those cement animals that you put in your yard. We have one vendor who is a bit of a renaissance man; he sells a lot of leather items like boots, jackets and bags as well as offering leather repairs and cleaning to your prized leather goods. People like ephemera, and we have that too.”

“I Googled ephemera and it said, ‘Items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.’ What would be something that would be ephemera?” I ask.

“Ephemera is like things that you were not meant to keep,” she explains. “For instance, I collect old Halloween pumpkin lanterns. They’re very expensive now. They were made of papier-mâché; you’d put a candle in them and when it burnt out, you threw them away.”

A disclaimer from Bonnie Belcher: “The Santa Cruz Antique Faire has no affiliation with, nor do we endorse any other show that may be using our same or similar name. To clarify and to avoid any confusion, please note that we are solely operated and located in Santa Cruz, downtown on Lincoln Street, on the second Sunday of the month. We have been bringing vintage awesomeness to Santa Cruz for over 25 years and will continue to do so, and as always, admission is free.”

For questions about vendor space availability or to learn more about the Santa Cruz Antique Faire, call (831) 476-6940 or email sa*******************@gm***.com.


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