The quirky and quaint town of Niles – known for its colorful history that includes everything from Charlie Chaplin to steam locomotives, and some oft-told urban legends involving trolls, white witches, and secret sidewalks – is also home to one of the Bay Area’s most well-known antiquing events – the Annual Niles Antique Fair. The Fair is typically held the last Sunday in August, but savvy treasure hunters know to stop by the Saturday before the big sale because that’s when local residents throw open their garage doors, often selling cool stuff they’ve collected from previous year’s fairs.
Last Sunday, my antique-lovin’ friends Carie, Tonie & I headed out at the crack of 9 a.m. to beat the traffic to the 48th Annual Niles Antique Fair in Fremont, sponsored by the Niles Main Street Association. Having never been, I was excited about the prospects for the day, and thought it was an auspicious beginning that we snagged the very last parking spot in the Boy Scout’s fundraiser parking lot, handed them 5 bucks, and gathered up our belongings just as the “Lot Full” sign went up.
Niles is probably most famous for its ties to early Hollywood history due to the fact that it was once the home to one of the first West Coast motion picture companies, Essanay Studios. Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson filmed some of their infamous silent movies right there in Niles Canyon, including The Tramp, and every Saturday night you can watch screenings of these and other films shot in the area at the Niles Essanay Film Museum.
The Niles Canyon Railway still operates its vintage locomotives through the canyon that stretches from Niles to Sunol, offering trips through “Dead Cow Curve” and sponsoring unique events like the wine and cheese pairing train trips or the ever-popular “Train of Lights” around the holidays.
So, anyway, back to the Antique Fair, here’s a smattering of some of the stuff I found:
We saw so many amazing things at the Fair that it is virtually impossible to name them all, so instead, I’ll just let you have a look-see at some photos to get an idea of what to expect at next year’s Fair ~ on August 25, 2013.
And, in closing, here’s a video someone shot of the Fair a couple of year’s ago to whet your appetite for next year.
My best tip for next year’s 49th Annual Antique Fair is – Get There Early! And, bring one of those portable shopping carts with you to carry away your haul…