Sunday, February 3, 2008

Collectibles at the Expo Center

This afternoon I went to an event billed as a “Big Flea Market” at the Fredericksburg Expo Center. So far, the relatively new (and way too pink) Expo Center has hosted the usual trade and consumer shows: home and garden, RVs and boats, motorcycles and guns, crafts and more crafts. Today’s show was devoted largely to antiques and collectibles. I wasn’t particularly interested in either category, but with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon and the blog material lagging, I thought it would be worth a visit.

Downtown Fredericksburg happens to be known for its many antiques and collectibles shops, so I didn’t think this show offered much that was new. Nonetheless, the parking lot was full, and the venue was packed with people. Rows and rows of booths offered similar vintage merchandise: clothing, jewelry, linens, dishes and glassware, dolls and toys, comics and magazines, sports memorabilia, old books, and every imaginable type of kitsch and collectible. It was a real walk down memory lane, with just about every booth displaying something that reminded me of my childhood. My mom would have loved it. My husband would have thought it was all a bunch of junk, and will be thanking his lucky stars he had other plans.

A few pieces jumped out at me: the Steiff tiger just like the one I grew up with, selling for $187, but without a “Knopf im Ohr” like our tiger had; Barbie and Ken in Star Trek uniforms (original series, of course); the collection of plastic swizzle sticks just like the ones my parents had when I was a kid. I discovered that my small collection of mostly reproduction salt & pepper shakers isn’t going to grow, since real vintage salt & pepper shakers are, by and large, pretty damn ugly. I found decades-old misshapen kitchen strainers for $5, exactly like the one I just threw away (no loss). And my collection of pop culture buttons from the 1960’s are worth a buck or two each, at most.

I tried to buy something, I really did, but in the end, I left the clutter at the Expo Center and came home empty handed.

Vintage linens and quilts.

Vintage fur coats (someone tell me please, who is going to wear these?)

The only place I ever saw more Hummel figurines was in the Hummel shop at Busch Gardens.

Hideously ugly dolls.

Mostly reproduction vintage lampshades.

Stuff and more stuff.

Expo Center footnote: According to the site's calendar of events, St. Mary's Catholic Church will be having 3 masses here on Easter Sunday. Now that's a big congregation!

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