Small fairs, big opportunities

Packed with goodies (can you spot the Clanta vase?)

There were only about 20 stalls packed tight into a church hall in Kirkcudbright – we were there bang on time (always be there on time!) which meant an early start from Ayr but it’s raining so we were keen to get inside to what turned out to be an Aladdin’s cave of treasures.

Admittedly, the night before I had doubted whether it was worth going – I was only going to see if I should take a stall there next time. Oh boy, am I glad that all doubts were cast away – the small vintage fair in a town far off was FANTASTIC.

OK, so it was packed tight with stalls and clearly there was never going to be room for another one. All the stallholders seemed to know each other so it seemed a very local thing. There was a vintage-themed tea and cake area and swing music playing on a vintage record player on the counter, but only while the wonderful three-piece band The Fever weren’t performing in the corner!

It was so much fun! It’s possible to forget the fun side of what you do and get lost in the buying and selling, the profit margins and promotional activities. I’m sure the big events are fun too and I envy those down south who have massive car boot and fairs to go to, but visiting this tiny vintage fair was such a reminder of the fun of the hunt, the people, the stallholders who are just moving stuff on and not hard-bitten retailers.

Here’s the best opportunity to buy something special with a story. I picked up a tiny little suitcase (I wanted it to sell vintage scarves from) and the lady selling said it was her brother’s who used it for his valuable stuff when he was a travelling trader – it was essentially his man bag!

Nice find!

Sometimes it’s really not worth haggling for something – I picked up a lovely Victorian pokerwork tray and a Brentby Clanta vase for under £10 each – both worth much more where I was going to take them, but here in the village hall the lady clearing space at home got what she wanted for them. So there were some very good buys making the trip absolutely worth it. Never skip the small and local – this is where real bargains can be found.

But on that day it was almost not the point, it was the fun that will stay with me. The man who had brought a rescued sheepdog with him – a dog that had never seen so many people in its life… the lady overheard encouraging a young one to collect stamps and attend a local stamp group… the lovely garden across the road and takeaway coffee in the lea of the quayside buildings – hot sun and hot gossip.

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