Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Canton...or Bust?

Oh, how I WISH I had something awesome to share with you about our Canton trip...I really wish I did. But sadly, I must report that our trip was a bust...

We started out Thursday morning with such bright-eyed enthusiasm. It was a gorgeous, sunny (though windy and chilly) day, and we had the most pleasant 3+ hour drive to Canton. We drove to our CUTE, cozy clean private cottage where we would be spending the night, and I'm sad to say that the cottage ended up being the highlight of our trip...EVERYTHING went downhill from there...

It was already past 2:00 in the afternoon by the time we made it to the Trade Day grounds. We headed straight for the "rust and dust" area - a large open air section consisting of row after row of vendor spaces with open tables filled with lots of glorious junk...dusty china and glassware, rusty architectural features, piles of mis-matched costume jewelry, boxes and boxes of old photos and postcards, and LOTS of chippy old furniture. It was a junkers paradise...until I started seeing the trend in the pricing. At table after table, vendor after vendor, I saw the same thing over and over...hyper-inflation. Seems as though now everyone is much more savvy about the worth of collectibles/junk than in the past and it really showed up in their pricing. It is so surreal to hear a rough and rugged, rumpled East Texas good-ole-boy saying things like "that there's McCoy (or Fenton, red transferware, Fiesta, whatever), and I caint let that go fer less 'n twenty".  And it was the same thing time after time, booth after booth. I was so disappointed. Don't get me wrong, if you are buying for your own home, you could find some pretty decent prices, but if you are a dealer, trying to buy for resale in an already tight market, it was not a pretty picture.

For the next couple of hours we wandered through most of the open air area vainly hoping for at least one or two vendors with true bargains, but no luck. We were all numb from the cold and wind, and weary from the fruitless search, plus vendors were starting to close up shop for the day, so we headed for the car. We drove all around the perimeter of the grounds, making a plan for where we would go on Friday, had a delicious burger at the famous Dairy Palace, and headed to the cottage...

And then came the rain. When we made the decision to go to Canton, we knew, because of previous weekend commitments, that we would only be able to go Thursday and Friday (which under the best of circumstances is nowhere near long enough to properly shop Canton). So when I checked weather.com at the time I made the cottage reservations and saw a chance for rain on Friday, I just had to hope against hope that the fickle Texas weather would swing in our favor. It did not. We woke up to thick, gray, cold misty rain and a high temperature of 40...brrrrrr. But we were not going to be deterred. We went to some of the newer, easy to access on foot indoor venues to see if there were any bargains to be had, but alas, not so. We even drove by the rustier, dustier open air "animal" section where they sell everything from kittens to donkeys, and were dismayed to see the few junk tables they had covered with tarps. Bummer... We knew because of the weather, our general weariness, and our limited time and budget that we wouldn't be able to walk through all the really cool indoor venues where they have glorious displays in beautiful, more permanent "shops". So we just had to skip those for this trip...and even though I probably wouldn't have bought anything from them for resale, it is always inspiring to see the trends and the creativity there.

But even now we had one slim hope that the day wouldn't be a complete loss. I remembered from our trip in '08 that all along Hwy 19 (the main road leading to Canton), there were tons of garage sales and small flea markets/junk venues that spring up on Canton weekend. So after we left Canton and made the trek down 19 toward home, we strained in vain at every small town to see a garage sale sign, an open road-side junk store, anything....but there were none. The further south we drove, the rain was letting up and we hoped anew that the signs would be showing up, but it never happened. There was not ONE garage sale along the entire route....unbelievable...

Finally, out of desperation for a cheap junk fix, we stopped at a rough little thrift store in Trinity, and we were so happy to see things marked $.50 and $1.00...our kind of prices. We got a few little things...nothing really worth taking a photo of, and felt at least a little better...

SO, I have no wonderful photos to share....just a sad tale of bad timing, hyped-prices, and lousy weather. Of course, Saturday and Sunday were glorious sunny days that made it into the 60s...but it was too late for us...

That's OK though. We still managed to do a lot of laughing and enjoyed each other's company very much. We found a great place to stay which we will return to again for sure. And we learned some valuable lessons about the state of junk at Canton...

But hope springs eternal - we will live to junk another day!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28


  1. Bummer! Glad the cottage was lovely, though :)

  2. Sorry to hear about the disappointing "junk", but at least you shared a few laughs along the way. Gas for the trip $40, little thrift store things $2, laughter and good company....priceless.

  3. Hi Becky,
    It's sad when prices go up so much and I'm finding LESS at the thrift stores. So many people are doing ebay and a lot of GUYS too!!!
    I hope the garage sales will be good to us!
    Deb :)

  4. Stink! I hate it when that happens. Now that junk decorating has become so big the prices are through the roof. I mean, the big thrill of junking used to be the incredible deals you got for something fun. I predict that the trend will pass if the prices keep up the way they are going. I know I am not interested in washing, painting, and fixing something up AND paying top price for it. The elbow grease is only attractive if the price is low. Antique dealers have done the same thing, shot themselves in the foot with their high high prices, thats why people started junking!

  5. Oh, Becky! I sure know how that feels! There's nothing worse than going on a shopping adventure with a pocket full of coins and not finding anything to spend it on. But at least you did get to spend time with loved ones.
    Last time I went to Round Top, I found the same thing as you. Things were so grossly marked up! And so much of it is truly junk. Hunting for treasure isn't fun when you can't find it. Oh well, it's makes it even sweeter when you finally do!
    Patricia :o)

  6. Hey Becky, thanks for you advice about a Mr. BibleHead button. I'm not too good at that stuff. But it works. God bless.

  7. I just found your blog and boy, can I totally relate. Last summer my SIL and I had the same experience...that's part of the reason I've learned to scour thrift stores, you can still hunt down a good bargain there. I look forward to browsing backwards through your redo. btw, love your scriptures at the end of your posts.

  8. Oh, I was anticipating the hunt. Maybe we all need to put our heads together--what will be tomorrow's junk? I do appreciate the verse you shared. I always need that reminder. I enjoyed seeing your cottage redo again. With it just being a year ago, it seems like it was just a snap to do (LOL), wonderfully I might add.


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