From a storytelling standpoint, a single point of view doesn’t do the event justice. It’s too big, too brash, too bold. So we’ve patched together tips and lists of all kinds. Our goal is to provide you with what you need to know if you choose to go.
No matter what: have a big time. . . .
14 Things to Know About the Show
1. Dates: For the fall show, the first vendors begin to open Sept. 15 or so. The second week, especially toward the end of the week,, more venues open. Things pick up steam as most of the vendors open. Marburger Farm Antique Show opens to early birds (extra fee) on Sept. 27 and runs through Oct. 1. The Original Round Top Antiques Fair (a.k.a. Big Red Barn) opens Sept. and also running through April 2. The third week everyone is open.
2. Times: Opening and closing times ary with venues and vendors. Some open as early as 7 a.m. and stay until the last shopper leaves. Others have set hours. Generally, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. are safe bets.
3. Lodging is at a premium. Make reservations early. Check with local chambers of commerce in Round Top and nearby towns for accommodations. Hotels fill up as far away as Bastrop and Columbus. See our suggestions here.
5. It’s big—26 miles, 64+ venues and thousands of vendors big. In most cases, you can’t walk from venue to venue. The sites are measured in acres. Decide ahead of time which venues you want to explore. (Our “Drivin’ Guide to the Round Top Antiques Show” is a good start.)
6. Although you generally won’t be walking from venue to venue, you will walk a lot on rocks, caliche and in grass—and maybe even mud. Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes.
7. Traffic snarls—especially on weekends—Hwy. 237 is the main thoroughfare. It’s designed to carry traffic for a town with 90 people. More than 100,000 come to the show. It can take a long time to go a short distance. Be patient.
8. Food and water are available throughout the show. At peak meal times, the lines can get long. Eat at off times, or be prepared to wait. Carrying snacks and water bottles in your bag is a good idea.
9. While there are permanent bathrooms at some venues, port-a-potties are a reality. Plan accordingly (e.g., take your own toilet paper and disinfecting wipes.)
10. Cell phone coverage is unreliable. REPEAT: cell phone cover is unreliable. Remember, the area is home to 90 people full-time, so when 100,000 people show up and all want to use their cell phones, well, the one tower is unreliable.
11. Bring cash. Spotty cell phone coverage can make credit card transactions difficult.
12. Come early. Early in the day. Early in the show. Early in the week. Crowds are smaller, and navigation is easier.
13. Texas weather is unpredictable. Dress in layers. Bring a jacket and rain boots just in case. Hats are always a good idea because of the sun.
14. There is no real organization. Some venues offer classic antiques that must meet certain standards; others are collections of vintage items and finds of all kinds. Most are eclectic and appeal to treasure hunters. If you’re looking for something special, follow your favorites on Instagram. Ask vendors if they know where to find what interests you. Vendors comb the fields and have a great handle on where to go
The Scoop on Antiques Show Etiquette
1. Ask before you photograph. You’ll see a lot of wonderful things that you’ll want to share with your friends on social media. The vendors have put a lot of time and effort into collecting and displaying their wares. Before you take a picture, ask the vendor’s permission. Most will gladly agree. Courtesy will go a long way.
2. Let traffic merge if you can. Nobody is going anywhere fast. It helps smooth things along if you drive Texas friendly.
3. Wave. (See drive Texas friendly.)
4. There are no sidewalks along Hwy. 237, so beware of people attempting to cross the road. Sometimes the thrill of the hunt makes people forget they are standing in traffic.
5. It’s okay to negotiate prices. Ask a vendor if that’s the best price, but don’t badger. Cash is king
6. Don’t be mean. (This tip comes from a 12-year-old who patiently stood in line 1.5 hours to get a pimento cheese sandwich.) Service providers, be it restaurant staff, porters, vendors, are working as hard and fast as they can to take care of an overwhelming crowd. A little politeness goes a long way.
Nine Things to Eat or Drink (or Buy to Enjoy Later)
1. Pimento Cheese sandwich at Legal Tender (Permanent location in La Grange. Show locations at the Legal Tender Saloon in Warrenton, Big Red Barn and Marburger Farm.)
2. A smoothie from the gals at Fuel Bombs, who set up at Arbors.
3. Chicken Salad Sandwich at Royers at Zapp Hall.
4. Pizza at The Pizza Wagon. It’s BYOB, too.
5. Smoked Chicken Tacos from Back Porch BBQ. (Permanent location in La Grange. Show location at The Compound.)
6. Plum (or any flavor) jelly made with local honey from the Lazy Bee Honey Co. (Available at Flown the Coop in Burton and at the DYD Show on the Round Top Courthouse Square.)
7. Gypsy Daddy’s Biscuit Mix at Junk Gypsy World Headquarters in Round Top.
8. The most awesome fried pies from the Farmhouse Round Top Cafe on the triangle. DO NOT MISS — and go early, because when they’re gone, they are gone.
9. Handcrafted coffee specialties from Espressions in Round Top (mobile locations at Blue Hills and The Compound during the show) or the new Two Sparrows Roasting coffee available at Pie Haven on Henkel Square.
Nine Things Not to Miss at Round Top Antiques Show
1. Exploring Festival Hill (a fabulous concert hall) and much more.
4. Experiencing the boutique shopping available year-round on Round Top’s charming square.
5. Picking up real estate information and daydreaming about making Round Top home.
6. Two-stepping somewhere, sometime in one of the Roundtopolis’s historic dance halls. (Yes, Junkorama Prom at Zapp Hall and the dance hall at Stone Cellar count.)
7. Eat a kolache and a klobashnek. If you don’t know the difference, you will.
8. Celebrity spotting—you never know who you may see!
9. Making reservations at one of the local B-and-B’s, inns or guest ranches so you can come back soon.
How to Find Lodging in Round Top
With thousands of shoppers visiting a town with a population of 90, local lodging is a hot commodity.
Start early. Fill out a request form on the Round Top Chamber of Commerce website. The requester’s specifications will be sent to all the member B&Bs and home rentals. They will contact the requester directly if they have availability. Also, try VRBO, Homeaway, or google Round Top lodging.
Other good info sources are the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the La Grange Chamber of Commerce and the Carmine Chamber of Commerce. More nearby options include Brenham, Giddings and Columbus, which have hotels as well as inns, lodges and B&Bs.
Round Top Tip: Like several B&Bs on Facebook because sometimes they announce cancellations on their pages.
13 Things to Take to Round Top Antiques Show
2. Collapsible wagon or wheeled tote
5. Measuring tape
6. Note pad and pen
7. Patience (You will likely sit in traffic. Real traffic. Not “rush hour in Round Top traffic.”)
8. Our “Drivin’ Guide to the Round Top Antiques Show.”
9. A good plan for communicating with others in your group because cell coverage is very spotty.
10. Rain boots (Earlier this year the Roundtopolis had rain to spare. Colorful rain boots make mud fun.)
11. Closed-toe, comfortable shoes made for walking. (No need to ruin a good pedicure traipsing over caliche and rock paths. These are repurposed cow pastures you know.)
12. Toilet paper (Port-a-potties are in high demand. Supplies can be unpredictable.)
13. A good attitude and sense of adventure (Refer to No. 7. You’re on Round Top time, enjoy it, strike up a conversation and just experience the magic that is Round Top.)