Vintage Market Survival Guide
Written by: Kenzie
Have y’all ever heard of Round Top Antiques Festival? You can learn a bit more about it here, but basically is a massive - and I mean MASSIVE - market where vendors from all over set up booths in acres and acres of Texas fields to sell all kinds of treasures. There’s also permanent stores and building that participate, like the Junk Gypsies, but pull out on the stops on market days. There are two festivals each year, one in the fall, and one in the spring. Typically, we go to the one in the fall in the hopes that it will be a little cooler and we made it out to the small town of Round Top last Saturday to hit the dirt and do some treasure hunting.
Over all our years of antique-ing, attending vintage markets, haggling, hitting up estate sales, and junking, we thought we could share a little of what we’ve learned to help newcomers to the lifestyle. Especially if you’ve never been to a large, outdoor market, these tips can come in handy to get the most out of your day, and the best bang for your buck.
Don’t go if it’s hot.
Honestly, in this Texas weather, it isn’t worth it if it’s over 90 degrees outside. Sure, different people have different heat tolerances, but it is just TOO DAMN HOT. We were all hoping for a cold front before last Saturday, but it didn’t happen and we were all kind of wishing we had skipped this year. There isn’t anything worth having a heat stroke there that you can’t find somewhere else or at another time.
Know what it’s worth
If you’re looking for something in particular, do a little research to have a basic knowledge of how much it is worth. Some vendors are way overpriced and sometimes they know an item is overpriced, they’re just hoping that you don’t. If you know something is overpriced, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. If they know it’s overpriced, chances are they’ll give you a better deal. On the flip side of that, if you find something you love but want to pay less for it, look the item up on your phone (eBay, baby) and search sold listings to see what the item has sold for in the past. This will give you a better idea of what you should pay for it.
Bring water and snacks
Yes, the market does have lots of food and drink vendors, but bring your own too! Always have water on hand whether it’s hot or not. Walking around all day means sweating and burning calories and water is essential. Also, handy snacks like Goldfish, an apple, or granola bars are great when there are no food vendors in sight and you’re feeling peck-ish. As a side note, if you bring your furry friend, bring lots of water and a bowl for them! Some vendors have water bowls for dogs set out, but definitely not enough in the Texas heat.
Rest up while you can
There are minimal seating areas here (unless you count a vintage couch in someone’s booth, which you shouldn’t because then you’re just in everyone’s way), so take a load off your feet when you get a chance! Grab a snack and eat at a stand with tables and chairs set up, or find a tree (they’re rather hard to come by) and pop a squat in its shade for a bit. You’ll tucker out much quicker if you don’t take advantage of a comfy place to sit and give your feet a break when you come across it.
Bring something for toting around your goodies
This is a big place, and what if you find a fantastic giant glass jug in a booth half a mile from where you parked the car? You don’t want to be having that thing slip through your sweaty arms while you’re trying to make it back to the car. Bring tote bags and a cart you can pull or push to keep your purchases together and easy to carry.
Bring hand sanitizer
This one is near and dear to my heart. There are mostly just port-a-potties available unless you find a real store (I still can’t use a port-a-potty but I applaud the brave souls that do). But hand sanitizer is a must! I bring one liquid kind from Bath and Body Works and several sanitizing wipes for when your hands get dirty or dusty from rifling through junk.
Hopefully these tidbits will help you out there in the field when you’re searching for the perfect find! I also wanted to share a few must dos at Round Top market from the three of us that we get or stop by every year.
Stop at Java Love Bus for an iced coffee
Get roasted corn and smother it with whatever toppings you like
Start the day with mimosas in front of the Lone Star Glamp Inn
Get lemonade from the carnival food stand (it’s the best lemonade ever)
Pick up a bag of kettle corn and peanut brittle for the trip home
Take a picture in front of Zapp Hall
No matter how you find your vintage goods, always have fun doing it and browse freely with open eyes and open minds!