Round Top Antiques Show? Antiques Week? Warrenton? Marburger?
You need an insider’s guide, no matter what you call it. The Round Top Antiques Show is a huge collection of antique shows all happening at the same time along the country roads and in the small towns surrounding Round Top.
Venues selling vintage goods pop up like bluebonnets in area fields spreading out along a stretch of about 20 miles. State Highway 237 is a major thoroughfare. (Check out our first-ever venue map that includes the important stuff: parking, eating, pottying and shopping. Click to download your Round Top Antiques Show Map.)
For the spring 2015 Round Top Antiques show, some venues get going during the week of March 16. It’s the time to go for those who want to tromp around the fields hunting for bargains as the vendors unpack. A lot of high-end dealers and savvy retailers shop at the end of this week.
The next week, March 23 – 27, is an ideal time for newbies to visit, especially mid-week. There is plenty of free parking, almost every dealer is up and ready for business, and both the crowds and traffic are manageable. Traffic becomes a serious issue as the show progresses, so a weekday may be a good bet, especially for those who don’t like crowds.
During the final week, March 28 – April 4, things really heat up. Some of the big shows are open only this week, attracting serious collectors, designers and partiers.
Some venue owners open as early as 7 a.m. and close when the last customer leaves while other venues have set hours. Many venues designate late shopping days. Generally, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the prime time for shopping.
Size and logistics
Dealers and spectators told me the fall 2014 show was big: lots of buyers, lots of lookers, with attendance estimates ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 people over the course of three weeks.
Normally, the Roundtopolis, including its capital Round Top, is home to more cows than people. This visitor influx creates a lot of strain on local resources including wireless communication and road space.
Those who go should anticipate spotty, intermittent cell phone and wireless service and plan accordingly for communicating with their groups. Some venues, such as Marburger Farm Antique Show, recognized that their customers need wireless service and brought in bandwidth that guests can use for a fee. Additional bandwidth is not widely available.
Traffic is slow. Come prepared to roll down the windows and people watch.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]If I were given a vacation to anywhere in the world, I’d go to Warrenton during the show. If you “get it” you will never miss a show. If you don’t, you’re going to be miserable.
Joe Pete – Joe Pete & Co.
The show attracts people from all over the country because it’s a big, fun deal. To the uninitiated, it may appear daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve talked to insiders—vendors, designers, veteran shoppers, and bloggers—and collected their best tips for making your Round Top Antiques Show experience manageable and memorable.
Our panel included:
Paige and Smoot Hull, The Vintage Round Top; Anita Joyce, Cedar Hill Farmhouse; Karly Woods, Gypsy Treasures; Susan Franks, Big Red Barn; Joe Pete Forcher, Joe Pete & Co.; Tara Suel, Marburger Farm Antique Show; and A. Nonymous Insider.
Although the collective wisdom can be summed up with come early, stay late and wear comfy shoes, I learned a lot and trust you will, too.