Found: Xnay on the Antique Faire-ay

By Ashley Robinson

I don’t like to knock on Sacramento. In fact, I will go out of my way to not comment on articles that wax poetic about certain annual events I think don’t live up to potential.

But there are some things I just can’t bring myself to blindly enjoy just for the sheer novelty of a local endeavor.

And one of those things is the Midtown Antique Faire (

It occurs every second Sunday of the month, and it happens under the freeway. And it is three dollars to get in. And I think it is overrated.

I have gone twice. The first time, when the weather was warmer and I was helping a fellow Girl on the Grid decorate her new apartment, I kind of enjoyed it. We found a few chochkies for her new shelves and some lovely frames with items to put in them. So, it was nice – not perfect, but acceptable.

But, I went last weekend, and I was miserable. Not only was it freezing, but when you aren’t looking for more clutter for your already cluttered abode, it serves no purpose. I was fishing for furniture and artwork – nothing too specific!

I was looking for bookshelves, a little stand for our bathroom, possibly a cool funky chair or some picture frames to add to my small antique picture frame collection.

Parking lots and carts on wheels are the name of the game at the Antique Faire.

Mind you, I am not a collector. I don’t collect things. I freak out when I go to houses where there are mass collections of Elvis Presley posters or old gas station tins on top of the cabinets. The only reason why I have a small (and I mean small) collection of frames is because my future mother-in-law likes to do two things on family trips: gamble and antiquing. So, instead of pounding my head against a wall in boredom, I look for frames and old postcards to decorate my house.

But if you are collector, and you are looking for old posters, Depression-era glasses or old toys, the Midtown Antique Fair, between 6:30am and 3:30pm is the place for you. The place is brimming with old junk, um, er, I mean, vintage memorabilia. (I was sad when I saw toys I used to play with there, and come on! I just turned 26!) There are a lot of plates, gold framed landscape paintings of countryside, toys, old radios, decorative boxes, jewelry, creepy dismembered dolls, broken things that need TLC and napkin holders.

In warmer weather, I think they are more diverse with plant sales, patio furniture and food vendors.

I ran into a friend who actually scored a beautiful rocking chair for $40, but frankly, I thought that was the steal of the day.

There were a few other booths that really caught my attention. One man had a few loved but worn tables, but nothing I wanted to throw down thirty-five bones for. A woman and a partner fix up brass Victorian bridge lamps that were quite stunning. Another was a Russian man’s booth that sold Orthodox wooden icons from the 1860s and rare Russian stone jewelry.

However, dude needs to lower his price point for an antique fair under a freeway.

And it’s actually the location of it that kills me. I don’t even like to be stuck in traffic under an overpass. Maybe I died in an engineering collapse in a past life, because I get so anxious hearing cars and trucks zooming over my head. But shopping to the deafening sound of traffic overhead is, as I alluded to, anxiety-ridden. I think it stops being noticeable after a while, but just the concept of being under the freeway rubs me the wrong way.

And I like antiques. My living room hotel lobby-esque armchair was purchased in a basement store in Brooklyn for $25. And the mid-century bar my fiancé bought during his bachelorhood is a centerpiece item in our “middle room” (and almost a virtual shrine …but I won’t go there).

So, my friends, if you want to know where to get the best antiques in town, a place not littered with junk, but with actual items you will love and cherish and want to pass down to your children’s children, do not go to the Midtown Antique Fair.

Go to the Antique Company on X and 21st. They have amazing furniture, lamps, stained glass window decorations, etc. They have so much to enjoy and explore, and I mean exploring. It’s like an onion, enjoy the layers – don’t be deterred.

Go to Three Women and an Armoire for fabulously restored furniture at 11th and F. I could spend all day there without being bombarded by junk. Just don’t go on a hot day. It’s an old warehouse with not a lot of cool air floating around.

For cute clothing and jewelry, the Indie Craft Fair in Sacramento is amazing. I’m wearing a gold locket necklace I bought there as I write this.

But it comes down to this, I will go back to the Antique Faire when they promise two things: a place that serves quality coffee and they put the kabash on toys from the 80s. I’m too young to feel vintage.

Editor’s Note:  Do you feel differently about the Antique Faire?  Where do you shop (locally) to find unique items for your home?  Let us know by leaving a comment or email girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.

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  1. laura braden says

    I’m with you Ashley, I hate bashing anything in Sactown but this Antique Faire is over-rated. We went a few months back to find cool vintage home decor pieces and drove home with an empty trunk. It has potential – and maybe we both went on bad days (??) – and it’s worth checking out, with the right expectations. 🙂

  2. Ashley says

    I think this is just not the place to find furniture. And I think you have be extremely focused on what you are looking to buy … which I am generally not.

  3. Dianna Sanchez says

    I disagree. I love going to the antique fair! I try to go every month that my schedule allows. I think it gives you something fun and different to do on a Sunday morning or afternoon in Sacramento and occasionally you find some really cool stuff. Yes, there are times that you find something really awesome and its over priced, but that’s when the negotiating begins!! And really, most of the stuff there really is a bunch of junk that we market as “vintage”, but one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Last time I went I got a really cool vintage trunk in excellent condition–think Louis Vuitton traveling style like you see on display at the store–only metal, with old vintage traveling stickers on it…$20! It’s like outlet shopping, you’re not always going to find something great every time you go…or the best deals, but its still fun! I drag a friend for some company and then take them to lunch in midtown afterwards. Makes for a great Sunday fun day. 🙂

  4. Sarah Dentan says

    I’d add Taber Furniture ( as a place for antique/cool and used furnishings. The stuff out front is out of my price range, so I head to the back room…

  5. Jamie says

    I’m just curious as to why they spell fair with an “e.” I thought that was reserved for Renaissance Faires…

  6. Amelia says

    Totally agree with you Ashley!! The prices are the first thing that struck me – way too much, in my opinion. I love the Antique Company store you mentioned – great variety and they negotiate.

  7. BayGrrl says

    I love the Sacramento Antique Faire! Granted, sometimes I do come home empty handed, but I’ve also found a handful of 49-star parade flags (little flags that would have been waved at parades) for $2 each. Considering there were only 49 stars on the U.S. flag for 17 months (Jan 1959 when Alaska became a state to July 1960 when Hawaii became the 50th state), there aren’t too many around which makes them extra-special … to me anyway!

    Last year, I made a couple of great “scores” at this Antique Faire — first I found a little bedside table with what I believe is it’s original paint (the crackling doesn’t look new/fake) for $35 and a couple months later I found someone selling a HUGE pile of antique quilts for a song! Bought 5 quilts (in the dark) for just $50, and one of them turned out to be from about 1860-70 (verified by an antique dealer friend who said it’s easily worth $350!). I’ve found other wonderful things there over the years, but these are a couple that I’ll always remember!

    If you don’t mind driving a couple hours, check out the Alameda Point Antiques Show ( It’s held the 1st Sunday of each month and is freakin’ HUGE!!! My recommendation would be to spend $10 for the sorta-earlybird entrance fee. If you wait till 9am ($5 entrance), the antique dealers have bought the best stuff, and if you ante up $15 for the serious earlybird fee, there’s not enough dealers set up yet to make it worth it.

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