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Tips for Navigating Texas Antiques Week Traffic

Tips for Navigating Texas Antiques Week Traffic

“This is my last time to shop Round Top”, I overheard someone say.

I was eavesdropping. I felt guilty, I don’t know why. Everybody does it. But I was taught you shouldn’t do it. Not intentionally anyway. And if you chance to overhear someone else’s conversation, you must pretend that you didn’t.

In this case, I had no intention of pretending I hadn’t heard the remark because it was alarming to me. My retirement pension just goes so far, and the semi-annual Texas Antiques Week festival at Round Top is my main hustle for making ends meet. I never got the lady’s name. Let’s just call her Ms. Loud – no offense – I’m from a Loud family myself. And usually our kind are more likely to bark than bite. So I decided to risk it. I apologized for eavesdropping and politely asked the big question: “What in heck do you mean saying something silly like that?!”

Dewain Belgard – September 2016

 

Infrastructure of small Round Top area communities are being asked to support more than they can bear

Forty-five minutes and two quarts of ice tea later (after she had cooled down in both body and mind), I  began to understand. She had spent six hours total that Saturday in her car trying to get to the large well-known venue she wanted to shop, but with utterly no success. So she gave up and shopped a couple of smaller venues instead, which gave me the opportunity (and I must sincerely say, the pleasure) of making her acquaintance.

Texas Antiques Week Traffic

Visit the Antiques Fair during the Week

I encouraged her not to write off Texas Antiques Week yet. I offered my standard suggestions. If you can, it’s best to take off from work a few days and visit during the week. The same show you couldn’t get to on Saturday will likely be easily accessible on Thursday or Wednesday. Learning a few parallel back roads to Hwy. 237 (where most mega-venues are located) can help, but be careful. Eventually you must get on Hwy. 237, and you can spend a long time waiting for some kind stranger to let you into the traffic flow (if you want to call a parking lot a “flow”).

Texas Antiques Week Stop & Go Traffic

 

Don’t forget the outlying smaller venues and shops

Plan B: if the traffic on the main drag is altogether too much of a drag, don’t forget the outlying smaller venues and shops. The crowds are less hectic there even on the weekends, and the prices are often as good or even better than similar items you may find at the mega-venues on Hwy 237.

Carmine Antiques Store

Appeal of Acres of Merchandise and the Overwhelming Variety of Unusual and Highly Collectible Items

Still no one can deny the appeal of acres of merchandise and the overwhelming variety of unusual and highly collectible stuff you are likely to find at the large venues on the main drag. The fact is, the infrastructure (a fancy way of talking about access roads and parking spaces in this context) is being asked to support more than it can bear. Wise vendors realize this and may offer steeper discounts on slow days. So visiting your favorite mega-venue on a weekday may be more pleasant in many ways.

Of course, if you’re like me, you love to people-watch. The big weekend crowds may be part of the fascination. If that’s the case, you just got to grin and bear it!

“Hey, are we having fun yet????”

Evant, Texas: Reclaiming its heritage – located on highway 281 between DFW and Austin

Evant, Texas: Reclaiming its heritage – located on highway 281 between DFW and Austin

Evant, Texas

Have you ever traveled through Highway 281 between Dallas Fort Worth and Austin?  Or maybe you’ve been on Highway 84 from Waco to Brownwood?  If so, you’ve been through Evant, Texas.  But in the past, you probably didn’t notice it.  You might not have slowed down.  And most likely, you had no idea how to pronounce the name of the town, if you even noticed the sign.  (For the record, it’s “ee – vant”; rhymes with “pant”.)

Mary Ann Davison January 10, 2018


Evant, Texas

Founded in 1876

Buildings neglected and decaying by late 1990. Many years ago, Evant was a thriving community.  It was founded in 1876 when Evan T. Brooks purchased 160 acres from Asa Langford.  It was a leading center for mohair production (the hair from Angora goats, just for you city slickers).  Ranchers raised beef cattle; and farmers grew cotton and other crops.  By the 1940s, there were at least 25 businesses in town and the school had 420 students.

But with the rise of big box stores and the decline of farming, Evant – like so many other small towns – began to slowly die.  Businesses left.  Buildings were neglected and decaying.  By the late 1990s, nearly all the shops in town sat shuttered.  People whizzed by without giving a second look to Evant.

Reclaiming its heritage

One of Evant’s original descendants purchased and began restoring the buildings around the square; local residents came together to help; the Chamber of Commerce began hosting events; the Rodeo Association held frequent rodeos, drawing people from all over Texas and other states; the city established a beautiful City Park; and people once again became proud of their community.

 

Shopping with a purpose

Antiques, art, and woodwork; boutiques, Mexican imports, and home goods; baked goods, boots and saddles. Who knew there were so many talented people in Evant? And there’s more to come!  Keep on the lookout for a Vendor’s Market, a drive-through Wildlife Ranch, an RV Park with horse stalls available, and more!

 

 

Evant, Texas

The trendy phrase “shopping with a purpose” should be this small town’s motto. The rebirth of Evant has not been about financial gain, but about a small community reclaiming its independence and its heritage.  So the next time you pass through Evant, slow down.  Grab a pastry and a cup of coffee (fresh roasted to boot!).  Stroll the square.  Visit the friendly shop owners.  You’ll want to come back again and again to this thriving, charming, self-sufficient community that is The Crossroads of Texas.