Text & photos by Robin Heyden.
I’ve been reading about the first-Sunday-of-the-month Alameda Point Antiques Faire ever since we moved here in September. After a couple of failed attempts – holidays, confusion with the Alameda Flea Market, and a rain-out – I finally made it there last weekend, along with what looked like at least a couple of thousand other cars. Whoa. I had no idea it was so huge.
If you’re looking for anything from used furniture, to kitsch, to collectibles, this is the place to be. According to the Faire’s website, roughly 800 vendors set up shop on the old runways of what was once the Alameda Naval Base at the west end of the island of Alameda.
Unless you’re planning on giving over a day, it’s impossible to see everything – the place goes on forever, with the gorgeous San Francisco skyline in the background. We opted for a one-aisle strategy, walked the length of it, trying to keep our detours to the meaningful, then walked back along another aisle.
Coffee urns, plastic matadors, Bakelite Jewry, steamer trunks, Where’s Waldo dolls, LPs, life preservers, buttons, parasols, bathtubs, church prayer rails… if you can dream it up, you can find it here.
Fortunately for us, we found the food aisle in our perambulations. There were plenty of delicious options – Lockeford sausages, handmade donuts, tacos, gyros, kettlekorn, deli sandwiches, and a delectable homemade popsicle vendor from whom we bought a confection called “Night Time in Bangkok” which I can’t even begin to describe.
The parking is free but there is an entrance fee ($15 for all day but only $5 per person if you arrive between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm). They also offer free flat card usage to haul your purchases from the faire to your parked car.
Robin Heyden is a freelance writer and education consultant based in Alameda, CA. She blogs about participatory media and virtual worlds and their connection to teaching and learning.