Remember the camaraderie of high school, when, for better or for worse, everybody knew everybody else? That’s how this market feels, like a comforting stroll through familiar corridors, with vendors who greet you — and each other — warmly.
The market, run by SNA Estate Sales & Auctions, opens at 7 a.m. and by midmorning, the vendors have begun joining the customers, checking out competitors’ offerings through closing at 2 p.m. They greet one another like old friends, sharing gossip in the vintage world while casually eyeing wares and politely stepping aside when it looks like someone is going to make a sale.
It costs $2 to enter this swap meet at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura, where you’ll find clean, ample restrooms and plenty of free parking. And since you’re shopping on a Wednesday morning, it has that nervous, thrilling feel of skipping school to go to the circus. There are vegetable stands at the entrance, along with a man who sells plants and fruit trees, and then the market opens up to what feels like acres of open-air stalls.
Some items look a little worse for wear, like one man’s hodgepodge of garage-sale tools, kitchen equipment and stained Ugg boots. But then a display of 1990s action figures takes your breath away.
Food trucks are intermixed with vendors selling jewelry and rare books and old fur stoles. At a recent market, one stall had a pile of scooters and musical instruments, another an inviting display of vintage furniture, complete with an old Victrola record player and wooden rocking horse. In short, come expecting to find something you can’t live without.