Another day, another vintage market.
The Big Heap Vintage and Handmade Festival came to Salt River Fields over the weekend, featuring over 80 vendors hand-picked from 15 different cities across Arizona as well as nine other states around the country. While the three-day event brought in a fair amount foot traffic, bringing out the big guns like live music, a fashion parade, and a raffled off playhouse on Saturday on Sunday, like any of the many junk jubilees happening around town these days, it wasn't without its ups and downs.
First things first, The Big Heap is no Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market. To its credit, that means less lines, less crowds, and free parking. September's Junk in the Trunk was $10 admission plus another $10 for parking -- pretty steep when you consider how much you may or may not be spending once you get inside. The Big Heap however offered ample complimentary parking and only charged $7 for entrance to the outdoor festival.
Unfortunately, The Big Heap's selection didn't quite compare to its WestWorld-based competitor. Sure, every junk market is going to have its hits and misses, especially when you add repurposed decor to the mix (one man's life-preserving surgery is another man's unnecessary botched procedure), but given the fact that The Big Heap had just a little over half the number of vendors as Junk in the Trunk, the misses seemed to be a bit more noticeable.
Such misses included pastel cowboy boots repurposed into bejeweled purses, discarded license plates spliced together to create phrases like "R0CK N R0LL," and don't even get us started on the concept of gluing scrabble pieces together to make ornaments that say "LOVE" and "PEACE."
But hey, it wasn't all bad. In fact we even walked away with some quality pulp fiction paperbacks (four books for $5) and several old creepy baby dolls for next year's Halloween ($20 for triplets). Admittedly, furniture was not The Big Heap's strong suit. But all forms of knickknacks ranging from the bizarre to the antique were in ample supply. We were also please to spot artwork by Monica Robles and some quality pieces by PureLife Jewelry.
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The Big Heap will be making its way to Tucson on Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12. So if you didn't make it out this weekend and plan on making the drive next spring, we have a few key tips to keep in mind.
Firstly, bring cash. While the festival will most likely have an ATM on site like it did this past weekend, cash is always the most convenient form of payment. This goes for any festival, really. And while you should be prepared for prices to be higher than they would be at, say, a garage sale or Good Will, don't be afraid to haggle with vendors, especially toward the end of the day when sellers are getting desperate.
For more information on The Big Heap Vintage and Handmade Festival, visit www.thebigheap.com.