If you go to Niles Boulevard in the wee hours of Sunday morning, don’t be surprised to see a swarm of people walking around with flashlights, unloading tables and tents from vans and trucks.
They’ll be busy setting up for the 53rd Annual Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market, which opens up at 6 a.m. that day and runs until 4 p.m. Vendors usually put out their wares between 2 and 4:30 a.m. For other early risers, an $8 pancake breakfast will kick off the affair at 5 a.m.
Keith Elrod, president of the Niles Main Street Association that organizes the event each year, said there will be more than 200 vendors selling antiques, art, hand-made jewelry and other crafts.
Niles Boulevard’s many antique shops, restaurants and businesses will be open throughout the day, in addition to the nine food vendors who’ll be offering tacos, barbecued meats, popcorn and ice cream, among other culinary treats.
Elrod said the one-day event regularly draws tens of thousands of people, and the early start doesn’t seem to faze anyone.
“People show up with flashlights at 4 a.m., it’s a really early event,” he said, adding pancakes generally sell out by 11 a.m.
Niles Boulevard, from J Street to Sullivan Underpass, will be blocked off for the event, which spreads out throughout the historic district. Many residents take advantage of the crowds by holding garage and yard sales in the area, Elrod said.
He added that churches, Boy Scout troops, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and other local organizations will work to raise funds for their programs.
The concept for the event was born a little more than 53 years ago, when some Niles area residents who heard about an antique fair being held in San Juan Bautista thought they should hold a similar event.
In the last 12 years, the event has expanded to include a flea market to attract a bigger cross-section of the community.
“The way I see it is, even people today who are making hand-crafted art, pottery, paintings, you know that’s going to be someone’s antiques of the future,” Elrod said.
Niles Boulevard is expected to be cleared by 6 p.m. For more information about the event, visit niles.org.
Published at Wed, 23 Aug 2017 22:42:17 +0000