Younger or older, new or antique, there was something for everyone at the Lodi Street Faire on Sunday.
Now in its 23rd year, the Street Faire attracted thousands of visitors to 10 square blocks of Downtown Lodi.
Pat Patrick, Lodi District Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said that about 500 vendors lined Church and School streets from Lodi Avenue to Lockeford Street for the October Faire.
School Street was once again the place for antique lovers to find quirky and valuable collectibles, from hand-woven Native American blankets to NASCAR replicas to nearly century-old furniture.
One of the most popular items for sale Sunday was a wooden toy chest painted like the Silver City Stagecoach, complete with wheels for easy mobility, at a vendor space in front of Lodi Cooks.
Its vendor, Collette Leal of Lodi, said the well-worn box was most likely assembled and sold in the 1940s, but she couldn’t be sure. A returning vendor to the Street Faire, Leal had purchased it at a garage sale last year from its original owner, but nothing concrete was known about the item.
Collectors and new parents were fascinated by its fairly good condition, but there were no takers until the early afternoon.
While Leal was a returning vendor, there were many first-time sellers who were enjoying the popularity of their items.
Julie Ghent of Stockton had been coming to the Street Faire as a buyer off and on for about 10 years, but this October decided to try her hand at being a vendor. She was selling a variety of items, including chairs, lamps and costumes reminiscent of go-go jumpsuits from the 1970s.
“I’m just amazed at how many people have bought things from me,” she said. “I’m definitely coming back next year.”
Ghent estimated by early afternoon she had made roughly $1,000, much more than she had expected. As a first-time seller, she was also floored at how many people line up in the early hours to buy antiques at the Street Faire.
“We got up at about 4 a.m. to come here, and our (vendor) neighbor was setting up at 3 a.m.,” she said. “He already had people at his booth with flashlights and picking stuff out. It was just amazing.”
Walnut Grove resident Mary van Loben Sels had the same sentiment. She and her sisters-in-law, partners in their Savvy Sisters enterprise, were first-time sellers on School Street as well, plying refurbished household items they’ve bought in the past.
“We’ve had hundreds of people come to our space,” she said. “We’ve been doing well, and have received a lot of feedback from people who either want us to come back next year, or want to know which fair or festival we’ll be at next.”
Patrick said there were 50 new vendors at the Street Faire on Sunday. The Chamber had offered a referral program to returning vendors that increased the number of first-time merchants, he said. If an existing vendor referred a new seller, the first-timer would reserve a space at a discounted price. In turn, the existing vendor would receive money back for the referral.
According to the Chamber’s website, the program was designed to bring more vendors to the fair while attracting more visitors as well.
Patrick said not only did vendors enjoy heavy foot traffic, but local businesses did as well. He spoke with Al Levy at New and Again Consignment Furniture Gallery at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, he said, and both were surprised at the early turnout.
“It’s been my experience that when the weatherman talks about how hot it will be on a given day, the crowds will be larger,” Patrick said. “But Sunday’s weather was just perfect weather. We thought we’d develop a later crowd after church, but it was large all day.”
Of course, the Street Faire also featured brand new items along Church Street, mostly hand-crafted pieces of art, both practical and decorative.
Items included paintings, homemade birdhouses with license plate rooftops, shelving units designed as rowboats, wine racks, jewelry, hand soaps and oils, among others.
Other items for sale along Church Street also included manufactured items from vendors including cell phone covers, baseball caps or vintage signs for your garage or mancave.
Antiques and crafts were not the only stars of the faire. Food was a big hit as well, with about 25 different vendors from which to choose.
By noon, a line stretched across Walnut Avenue for the always popular Lockeford Sausage. Those who had an appetite for other snacks could choose from fire-roasted pizza, kettle corn, Filipino, Mexican and Chinese food, and barbecue.
And in the heat of the day, when local temperatures rose as high as 84 degrees, the shaved ice booths were popular among youngsters.
Next year’s Lodi Street Faires will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 4 and Oct. 5.