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August 26, 2009 > An old-fashioned good time

An old-fashioned good time

By Alyson Whitaker

Visit downtown Niles this weekend, and take a trip back in history. It is time for the 45th Annual Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market, an event that draws thousands from all over the Bay Area.

With an eclectic mix of antique stores, small retail shops, quaint eateries, and the Essanay Silent Film Museum, downtown Niles has managed to maintain an "old town" atmosphere despite its close proximity to the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Normally a quiet street, the last Sunday in August brings a burst of energy and excitement as anxious shoppers arrive looking for that perfect find. With over 250 vendors along with Niles' antique shops, there is sure to be something for everyone - from new items to hard to find, one-of-a-kind antiques.

One of the largest antique fairs, the one day event is expected to draw between 25,000 and 30,000 attendees. Some come with a specific item in mind; others will wait and see what catches their eye. Antique enthusiasts as well as casual shoppers are sure to find just what they're looking for.

If you can't wait to begin your bargain hunting, many Niles residents will be holding garage sales over the weekend in conjunction with Sunday's Antique Faire.

The event starts early. Vendors arrive and begin setting up at 4 a.m. for the 6 a.m. official opening. When early bargain seekers begin arriving at 5 a.m., flashlights in hand, they will be drawn in by the aroma of a piping hot pancake breakfast. The Dawn Breakers Lions Club in Fremont is once again offering breakfast to hungry shoppers, served from 5 a.m. - 11:00 am. If pancakes aren't what you're craving, don't worry. You're sure to find great shopping fuel at one of the many other crowd-pleasing food booths.

Parking is available at both ends of Niles Boulevard. Proceeds from parking charges will go to the Boy Scouts but be forewarned... spaces fill up early. Additional parking can be found off the beaten path along the side streets of Niles' neighborhoods. Bring persistence and wear your walking shoes.

The Niles Railroad Station will be open and visitors can enjoy the beauty of historic Niles Canyon via train, departing from Niles Depot throughout the day. Want to sit through a movie without worries of damaging your hearing? The Essanay Museum will be showcasing silent films all day - an opportunity for visitors to take a break, sit back, and experience what movies were like before 3-D effects and high-impact surround sound.

A stroll down Niles Boulevard this Sunday may evoke nostalgia for days gone by. It's a great opportunity to socialize with friends, neighbors, and strangers. With a keen eye, a little patience and some cash, visitors are bound to take home a treasure... and a smile!

Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market
Sunday, August 30
6 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Niles Boulevard, Fremont
(510) 742-9868

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