So this weekend was my first time going to the Texas Antique Weekend in Warrenton / Roundtop. Wow, quite the experience. If you have never heard of it, it is rather a big deal here in Texas. It is a bit like the Fredricksburg Tradedays but on steroids. There are thousands of people attending and well over 1,000 vendors. It is actually 60 antique shows put together. It is located half way between Austin and Houston. Shoppers and vendors come from all over the country and even world to come to this giant fleamarket.
Where – It takes place in mainly in two tiny towns on State Hwy 237 called Roundtop and Warrenton. And when I say tiny I’m not kidding …. Roundtop has a population of 90 and Warrenton 65. Apparently, the Roundtop Show started in 1968 and the Warrenton show followed along in the 1980s. If you missed the weekend there are always about 15 antique stores there all the time. If you want to get to Warrenton take Hwy 71 to Hwy 159 near La Grange, then Hwy 237 follow the signs for Roundtop. If you want to get to Roundtop you are better off approaching from the north as traffic during the show between the two towns is pretty bad. Take Hwy 290 for Giddings or Brenham and then take Hwy 237.
When – The Texas Antique Weekend is actually two weekends in the Fall and two weekends in the Spring. Generally late March / early April and then again late Sept / early Oct. The weather is generally quite nice, not too hot and not to cold. I went April 3rd and it was 70 to 85 degrees. Along the way you will see some pretty wildflowers, farms, cows and cute farmhouses.
What – Antiques as far as the eye can see. There are actually several fairs going on in each town run by various antique shops. Each one then has many booths, tents, small buildings and barns. All the antique shows in Warrenton are free. Three shows in Roundtop cost about $10 to get into; Marburger Farm being one of them. Parking is usually free in Roundtop or in Warrenton in peoples fields and cost $5. There are big pieces like furniture in styles like French, Colonial, Americana, Shabby Chic & mid-century. There are dishes like milk-glass, China, Pyrex, enamelware, cast-iron, etc. There are architectural salvage like old doors, old windows, stained glass, tin ceiling tiles, doorknobs, chandeliers, light fixtures, etc. There is vintage clothing like Victorian pieces, 1950s prom dresses, 60s mod fashions, retro hats, slips and gloves. Art work, rugs, rusty teasures, knick-knacks, you name it, its probably there. Need an old wagon wheel? They have plenty. How about old mason jars, they have tons. Some stuffed deer heads, you’re covered. Some chairs painted white and all chippy? Of course they have them. Want a 1950s kitchen table, no problem.
The shows I specifically remember seeing are Tree Park Antiques, Cole’s Antique Show, Clutter, Granny McCormick’s Yard, Hillcrest Inn Show, Lone Star Gallery, Renck Hall, Tin Star Field, Warrenton Grocery and Zapp Hall. Granted they are all right next to each other so kind of blend together. It has the feel of the State Fair or something. Booth after booth of interesting things to see.
What to Bring –
Comfy Shoes – I probably walked 3 to 5 miles just wandering around. You are best to walk up one side of the street and then back down the other.
Cart / Ikea bag – If you are serious about buying something bring a mini rolling cart, wagon or stroller to haul your stuff. You can buy a cart for about $25 at the show. Ikea also sells those huge blue plastic bags which are quite handy. Large items can be shipped to your house if they don’t fit in your car or truck
Bottled water – this is Texas, you will get thirsty and dehydrated. You can buy there for $1 to $1.50.
Snacks – you will be there for 1 to 6 hours depending on your stamina. Food is available from small cafes, booths and a few local restaurants. Anywhere from $8 to $20 so fairly reasonable. I think the booth I went to was called the Pickle Barrel. Very tasty handmade burger and fries for $8.50
Ice Chest – put an ice chest in your car. I cannot tell you how happy I was to have some ice cold drinks by the time I got back to my car.
Money – small booths take cash, some larger ones take credit cards, there are a few ATMs. Prices vary greatly and you are welcome to try haggling.
Hat / Sunscreen – While many shows are in tents or building you will do a lot of walking in between.
Good Attitude – a friendly positive attitude is the Texas way. Smile and say hello to the vendors. Be patient with the crowds or slow-walkers. Relax on your drive in and out of town as it will be a long one. Traffic crawls once you get 5 miles away. It took me nearly 2 hrs to go 5 miles. Granted it was noon on Friday when I drove in. I wish they had a shuttle.
They also have many booths selling new merchandise like women’s clothing, candles, textiles, pillows, baskets, home decor, etc.
See an awesome aeriel view from this youtube video. It goes north to south from Carmine to Roundtop to Warrenton.
See a gallery of my 70+ photos at my flickr.
Websites – Being that there are multiple shows run by different people there are several websites. I like the no-frills 3rd party website that covers them all. antiqueweekend.com