I’ve wanted to attend the big antiques fair in Round Top, Texas for many years and finally did so this year. Known as “Antiques Weekend” or “Texas Antiques Week”, both are really misnomers as the shows take place over more than a two week span (March 21-April 5 in 2015, the year I attended).
During this time period over 60 separate shows take place in several towns about midway between Austin and Houston, with the greatest concentration in the towns of Round Top and Warrenton. I stayed in Austin and it was about an hour and a half drive. The shows are mostly strung along a 10 mile stretch of highway 37.
I attended for three days in late March/early April. Prior to attending I asked for recommendations from the Costume Jewelry Collectors International Facebook group of which I am a part. I also got recommendations from a dealer that I know that sells at Round Top.
My first day of shopping was a Thursday when several of the shows opened for business. I started in Warrenton which is toward the southern end of highway 237, my first stop being Tree Park Antiques where I visited Donna Frankel, a dealer I met earlier this year in Mount Dora, FL. I once again bought several great pieces of jewelry from Donna and she also directed me to several other dealers in Warrenton with great jewelry.
The Warrenton shows are located along a 1 mile long strip of 237 and it’s best to park and walk from show to show. On day one I concentrated on recommended venues and dealers and found great pieces from Jen Glotfelty and Tracy Clinton Ezersky at the Campbell Building and from Len Peters at Cole’s Antique show at the northern end of Warrenton. Though I found great items there, it is important to be aware that some of the venues like Tree Park Antiques, the Campbell Building, the barn at Dillard’s Field, and Renck Hall Antiques had only a few jewelry dealers; Cole’s, being a larger indoor show, had many jewelry dealers, from moderately priced to high-end.
The next day, I started at the northern end of highway 237 with the La Bahia Antique show and worked my way south into Round Top to the Old Depot show where I found several more pieces. The Old Depot is located in the center of town and I explored this area on foot. Unfortunately, other than the Old Depot, all the other shows withing walking distance had new items and country crafts, except for a wonderful collection of restored vintage trailers that were for sale along the side of the road.
I then headed back to Warrenton to walk the fields of some of the larger outdoor shows including North Gate Field and Bar W. The shows in these fields contain a mix of large items like furniture and architectural antiques, generalist dealers with a mix of items, and quite a lot vendors selling new stuff. Many of the fields had been open for several days before I arrived and were somewhat picked through, but I found a few great pieces from the generalist dealers, my best deals of the entire show, although it took a lot of searching through dross to find them.
I returned the following week to attend opening day of Marburger Farm which is a large show located between Warrenton and Round Top. This is a higher-end show and one of the few that has an admission charge. I found several great pieces of jewelry which was a pleasant surprise since I had expected most of it to be too expensive for resale.
Strengths: there was lots of good jewelry but these were not jewelry-heavy shows; a lot of ground needed to be covered to find it, but it was there. While I am not a specialist in other antiques it appeared that there was lots of furniture, architectural antiques, country items (canning jars, wagon wheels, galvanized stuff, etc), vintage textiles, and lots of shabby chic. There was also a lot of new stuff in most venues and several venues that were all, or almost all, new stuff
Conclusion: the next time I attend Round Top I will show up a couple of days earlier to shop the fields before they are picked over. I would then show up for Thursday opening of many shows, and possibly return the following week to sell at Marburger Farm.
Weather: be prepared for all types of weather conditions. My first day was chilly and windy, my second day hot and sunny, and there were thunderstorms that prevented me from attending one day. The fall show is reputed to be very hot.