The 50th annual Niles Antique Faire & Flea Market takes place Aug. 31. This is one of the Bay Area's final outdoor extravaganzas of the summer season.
Nearly 200 vendors are expected to line the streets of this historic Fremont neighborhood where silent movies, with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, were once made. Here you will encounter merchants selling a huge variety of antiques and collectibles, newly made jewelry, jellies, craft items, toys and more.
Many collectors go to this show to specifically inspect what's being hawked at the garage sales that pop up all over town. A couple of years back, a friend found a set of Noritake china for a bargain $25.
Make sure you don't overlook the antique emporiums that dot the downtown area. A pair of my perennial favorites are Niles Antiques and Collectibles (37759 Niles Blvd.) and My Friends and I (37521 Niles Blvd.). Each store is known for its selection of well-priced merchandise.
Another reason to head to Niles is to take a leisurely ride on the Niles Canyon Railway. Brought back to life in the 1980s, visitors may go on a scenic trek lasting about an hour and a half. Cost: $12 adults. Details: 510-996-8420 or www.ncry.org. And if you've got the time, head to the Essanay Silent Film Museum at 37417 Niles Blvd. for a journey back in time. Details: 510-494-1411.
With so much going on you will want to relax a bit. I recommend a stop at Tyme for Tea & Co. at 37501 Niles Blvd. Cost: $15-$25. Ring up 510-790-0944 to make your reservations.
Hours: 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission and parking free. Dogs welcome. Details: 510-742-9868 or www.niles.org.
The Saratoga Historical Foundation is having an estate sale Aug. 23 at the Saratoga History Museum. I have word that a bunch of vintage goodies, including old dishes, household items and a doll collection, have been donated for this fundraiser.
While on site, see the current exhibit: "Pioneering the Valley: The Chinese-American Legacy in the Santa Clara Valley." The display will remain up until Oct. 26.
The museum is located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga. Estate sale hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Details: 408-867-4322 or www.saratogahistory.com.
An Under 1 Tent pop-up shop will be going on in the Willow Glen part of San Jose on Aug. 23-24. Shoppers rally here two or three times a year in search of goodies for their homes and gardens.
This go-round there will be vintage costume and sterling jewelry, period clothing and a huge group of decorative objects that range from the Victorian era to industrial and urban chic, a new favorite design with collectors.
The sale is held behind the Le Boulanger, 1357 Lincoln Ave., in the space formerly dedicated to The Paris Flea. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free in the rear parking lots. For details, call show promoter Carole Demkowski at 408-640-3124.
Promoter Nancy Johnson hosts another of her 20th Century Expos on Aug. 23-24. This show features a full array of decorative art objects made between 1900 and 2000.
Collectors from all over Northern California will be at this show to search for imaginative lighting, textiles, metal wares, modern glass, ceramics, furniture, prints, paintings and advertising objects. This show has become the place to hunt for wildly popular midcentury modern and Scandinavian-designed pieces.
All the fun happens at the Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $10 (good for both days). Information: 650-773-4824 or www.20thcenturyexpo.com.
Join a club
Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of speaking to a neat group of folks in the East Bay. I was so impressed with Las Antiguelagas that I hope other readers join the ranks.
The organization, formed in 1968, is comprised of 40 women who enjoy learning about history and antiques. Members gather the second Tuesday nearly every month for a luncheon followed by a brief business meeting. Later, a guest presenter delivers a program.
A couple of times a year, the club members venture out on a field trip. It costs $30 for annual dues. And men are more than welcome to join.
To learn more about these antique lovers, phone J.K. Watson at 510-326-5013 or write Nonnadidit@gmail.com. Place "Antique Club" in the subject line.
A top rating
The August issue of Romantic Homes has a list of the best flea markets in the United States. One of the three events held in California to make the cut is Cyndi Garofalo's popular Goat Hill Fair, which got its start a few years ago in the bucolic hills high above Los Gatos.
The next shindig takes place Nov. 15-16 at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. I'll be along with the nitty-gritty as the dates draw near.
A legend lost
Any time a revered personality passes from our midst, there's a run on eBay, and other Internet sites, for paraphernalia related to that beloved icon. Last week, of course, it was Lauren Bacall, the talented actress with sultry good looks and a distinctive husky voice, who died at 89.
So far, autographs, DVDs and photos featuring the beauty have sold in huge numbers, most garnering less than $10. A signed first-edition of the star's autobiography, "By Myself," however, fetched $250.
Autographed photographs -- some with Bacall's equally legendary husband Humphrey Bogart -- brought in $75 to $100. A copy of a 1945 Life magazine replete with an article on the leading lady sold for $15.
What makes these collectibles so special? The mementos we surround ourselves with remind us of who we were, and what went into making us who we are.
Contact Steven Yvaska at email@example.com.