For many of us, adding to a collection, scoring a great deal, or just looking for inspiration, a fantastic vintage find is just part of the experience at two local events. The sheer drama of the locations of two Bay Area vintage and antiques fairs, plus the extras the venues offer, make them well worth the trip.
Who doesn’t love combining shopping with delicious food, libations and live music? There’s more to do here than search for flea market finds. Recently rebranded after six years in business, the Treasure Island Flea on Treasure Island is now TreasureFest, a full-on weekend event: “A locally curated Bay Area festival,” according to the website.
Market vendors are juried, then whittled down to less than half the number of applicants, which include 25+ food trucks, live bands and lots of shopping, including vintage finds. With monthly themes (July 28 & 29 is Hawaii), promoters of this open-air market search out up-and-coming local artisans of all kinds to exhibit at another impressive location on the Bay. With today’s traffic hassles on major freeways heading to the wine country or Tahoe, the Treasure Island location offers an alternative with breathtaking views of both the East Bay and San Francisco, that remind us of why we live here.
Shopping includes 400 vendors including designers, artists, makers, collectors, crafters and food startups. In addition, the festival offers fun for the whole family, including pets, with a kid zone, carnival games and scavenger hunts. For adults, there are three bars serving local wine, seasonal cocktails and craft beers. Billed as Norcal’s largest monthly festival, at TreasureFest there really is something for everyone.
Last weekend of the month May-Nov
Pier 1, Treasure Island, San Francisco
$5 General Entry, kids under 12 free
Free parking, pet friendly
Alameda Point Antiques Faire
On Alameda Island, the Alameda Point Antiques Faire is a wonderful place to spend half a Sunday, whether you love antiquing or not. The setting is quite dramatic, on the airstrip of the former Alameda naval base. It offers spectacular, close up views of the Port of Oakland and across the Bay to the San Francisco skyline.
While poking around vendor booths, you can watch shipping containers at the port being moved around by giant cranes, each time with a BOOM as they are set down somewhere else. The charm of it all grabs me every time. Food trucks line the fences, with everything from specialty coffee to delicious multicultural fare.
The faire is known as one of the best antiques fairs in the country, with visitors coming from around the world (about 10,000 folks per event). With 800 booths offering a huge range of vintage and antique home decorations, clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, books and collectibles, it’s hard to not go home with a special find. In my many trips there, I’ve scored furniture, pickle jars, art books, glass doorknobs, old boxes, cashmere sweaters, French grain sacks and more.
The Faire is in its 12th year, held first Sundays of each month, 6am-3pm. Entry costs vary but parking is free, and there’s a parking lot shuttle plus a free flat cart for larger objects. Many folks pull their own carts but shopping carts can be rented for about $5. No pets.
First Sunday of the month, year-round
GPS Navigation Address:
2900 Navy Way (at Main Street), Alameda
$5, $10 & $15 depending on arrival time