If your idea of sophisticated is slightly scuffed, if you prefer dusty over designer, and if you know vintage is about more than just wine, then the monthly Antique Faire in downtown Santa Cruz is for you.
If you’ve ever been antiquing, you know that not all antique shops are the same.
Some focus on furniture, some focus on clothes, some focus on memorabilia, and some are a hodgepodge of whatever the proprietors come across. Some feature only those antiques of the finest condition and charge a bundle, while others walk that line between being vintage and thrift.
What’s great about the Santa Cruz Antique Faire is that there’s a little bit of everything, all crammed together on Lincoln St. Think of it as a sort of monthly pop-up mall where everything’s super old, and indulge accordingly.
The Faire takes place every second Sunday of the month — giving your passion for browsing plenty of time to recover from First Friday — and truly has any kind of antique you could want. There’s an entire table covered in old cameras whose supply hasn’t seemed to diminish at all in the couple of years I’ve been going to the Faire. There are the racks of clothing, from old Levi’s to fur coats (there are also plenty of old tee shirts, many of which have a softness that you just can’t duplicate). There are the old ladies selling costume jewelry, the old man selling a stack of vintage Playboys, and a table devoted entirely to Santa Cruz and Bay Area memorabilia.
There are also (deep breath) baseball cards, furniture, books, plates, glasses, buttons, records, VHS tapes, poker sets, boxes, bags, hats, signs, paintings, campaign stickers, earrings handmade from bottle caps, postcards, advertisements, newspapers, magazines, instruction manuals knives, and um, more baseball cards. And also a lot of people you might mistake for antiques.
But my favorite part, bar none, are the old photographs of people. Not famous people, and not postcards or advertisements, but just snapshots of regular people found in someone’s basement. Looking through these pictures, of people drinking and smiling and posing, of people leaning and laughing and looking surprised, are a reminder of how little people have really changed. It’s also fun seeing how people really dressed and looked in the days of black and white photography, as opposed to how the media tells us they looked.
I’ve bought several pictures of people dressed in lace and bowties, holding drinks and smiling as if they’re keeping secrets. These people never knew they’d end up in a pile at an Antique Faire, but I suppose there are much worse fates.
Santa Cruz Antique Faire
Downtown Santa Cruz: on Lincoln St., between Pacific Ave. & Cedar St.
2nd Sunday of each month from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Photo By ghoseb, via Wikimedia Commons