‘Twas the night before the Round Top Antiques Show, and all through the house not a creature was stirring but me. I was nervous. It was my first time to embark on what everyone called a “grand shopping adventure.”
I’m old enough to know that “adventure” is often a euphemism for chaos. I am a woman who loves a plan and dislikes crowds. From everything I heard and everything I read, I surmised the Round Top Antiques Show is light on plan and heavy on crowds. Did I mention I was nervous? People also kept saying there was something for everyone. I was skeptical that there would be anything for me.
I went anyway.
And I learned a lot. Most importantly, they were right, and I was wrong. The Round Top Antiques Show does have something for everyone, even me. I compiled a list of observations from the field, which hopefully will make your adventure grand.
Don’t count on your cell phone. I’m not a technology lover. In fact, I had a flip phone until the spring of 2015. Katie told me I couldn’t help run a business with a social media component without a smart phone. She was right, so I came to the show armed with my brand new iPhone 6 and a national carrier. Undergoing a credit check and a cavity search to qualify for the new phone was not only aggravating and humiliating, but ironic because the cell coverage in the Roundtopolis is so spotty that my bells-and-whistle phone didn’t work.
Carbo load. Before going to the show, I had been virtually sugar-free and carb-free for about a year. At the show, I indulged in lots of pie, a Ding-Dong bigger than my head and incredible sandwiches on homemade bread. Shopping is hard work. You’ll need the quick energy that delicious carbs provide.
Crowds are relative. Some estimates place the total crowd at 100,000 people. Most of them come on weekends. Because the venues stretch out over 26 miles, the crowd isn’t overwhelming at any particular venue. The crowds only become an issue at infrastructure “chokepoints,” farm-to-market roads, restaurants and food venues and restroom facilities. Plan accordingly.
Touch the merchandise (with permission). In his booth, Joe Pete Forcher from Abilene had an old-timey large format camera complete with the drape that covered the photographer. It had been used to photograph generations of West Texas school children. He set it up and let me pretend to be an early 20th Century photographer while he told me the story behind the camera. Selfies ensued. Memories captured.
If you love it, buy it. I fell in love. The apple of my eye wasn’t an antique but beautiful leather purses handcrafted by two ranching sisters from Sabinal. The bags resplendent with fringe came in eye-popping colors that don’t occur on a cow in nature. They are an investment. I vowed to return to their shop that smelled of new leather. I didn’t. Six months later I’m still thinking about the purse. Carpe sacculum. Seize the purse—or whatever grabs your fancy.
Curb your enthusiasm. I am an “Antiques Road Show” junkie. My fantasy is discovering a Tiffany lamp in an unexpected place and selling it for hundreds of thousands of dollars. When I stumbled upon a vendor at the Round Top Antiques Show who specialized in high-end art glass and other rarities, I went into geek-girl reporter mode. He mistook my interest in his treasures for an interest in him. He told me with a straight face, “You don’t look 50.” I chose to believe him. Now, I’m avidly collecting delusions of youth.
by Lorie Woodward Cantu