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August 23, 2011 > Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market

Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market

By Jessica Noel Waymire

Quality craftsmanship is difficult to come by these days. Warehouse stores have risen in popularity; well and good for those who need all-purpose basic items, but where can one go if seeking old-fashioned value? Niles, "The Jewel of Fremont," is just the place.

Antique fairs are treasure troves for quality, handcrafted goods. In its 47th year, the Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market has over 200 vendors offering a wide variety of vintage and antique items. The Faire is one of Fremont's largest events, attracting over 50,000 attendees.

Niles Main Street Association, a volunteer organization dedicated to historic preservation and economic development of the Niles area, puts on the Faire; proceeds are donated to local schools and museums. Vendors understand the popularity of this event and book their spots well in advance. The event gets an even bigger boost from neighbors who host yard sales on Saturday and Sunday.

Serious antique buyers are on the streets at sunrise, fueling themselves with the Dawn Breakers Lions Club's traditional pancake breakfast at 4 a.m. This is also the time when vendors begin setting up; booths open to shoppers at 6 a.m.

Boy Scouts will be parking cars; proceeds go to two local troops. Numerous food vendors will be spread throughout the Faire rather than centralized, so that local restaurants can benefit from the traffic as well.

"People are looking for what mom had or what grandma had," says Keith Elrod, Faire Organizer for the Niles Main Street Association. Elrod arrived in Niles in 1997 and owns Keith's Collectibles & Books, an antique store on Niles Boulevard. He has been overseeing the Faire for the last three years. The Antique Faire has "evolved over time," Elrod says of the shift from exclusively offering antiques to including a broader range of vintage items and flea market fare.

Treat this as an early opening to the holiday shopping season; it's a great way to get through your list ahead of time. Find that special gift for your loved one. Own a piece of history. Take time to appreciate the work that went into a beautiful dining table. Or find a piece of your childhood to pass on to your own children. Whatever you discover, it will be something worth remembering.

Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market
Sunday, August 28
6 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Historic Niles District
Niles Boulevard, Fremont
(510) 742-9868

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