Monica and I spent the past weekend in Fredericksburg as tourists. That’s right – we took a weekend off and went on a mini vacation. We have heard so much about the hill country and the monthly Trade Days that we had to go. Yes, I’ve been in Houston since the 1990’s and I had never been to the hill country. It was beyond time to go and I’m glad that we could go together.
UPDATE September 6, 2018: I was contacted by Alan, the owner of Fredericksburg Trade Days, to address some discrepencies in what I wrote. I fixed the discrepencies in the original text.
Alan is very proud of what they have built and he has every right to be. He stressed that this market is on 55 acres. It is a huge place and my videos only show a very small portion of it. I also need to stress that I intentionaly went on a Sunday morning at opening when it was very quiet. Alan says that on more temperate days (other than a hot summer morning), it is shoulder to shoulder in the barns.
Alan also told me about the Biergarten with live music from 12 – 4 PM that I missed because I went too early. It is Fredericksburg after all.
Alan and his wife Rhonda sound very much like the type of market manager that we all are looking for. They stress their desire for happy vendors and lots of customers.
Oh, and your $5 that you pay to park is good for the entire weekend, not just that day.
Trade Days kind of reminds me of the Antiques Week in Round Top, Texas. It consists of a field with vendors both indoors and out. There are a series of metal buildings that are numbered Barn 0 through Barn 6 and many outbuildings as well as tents. Food vendors abound with offerings like tacos and barbeque.
You can find just about anything you want there. From junk vendors to hand made jewelry, the treasures abound if you are willing to hunt for them.
The video above is a virtual walk through of one of the many barns at Trade Days. Make sure you drag the mouse to change your view to something other than my stomach.
From a customer point of view, Trade Days is a lot of fun. While it was hot and dry on Sunday morning, it wasn’t overbearingly hot in the barns.
From a vendor point of view, this is a great opportunity for a semi-permanent home. The show runs every third weekend year round with a special show in November for Thanksgiving. One you rent a space (with the exception of the outside spaces for tents), you can simply close your booth any way you see fit and just go home. No packing up and lugging all your wares back and forth.
As far as traffic, Trade Days is very well known in Southeast Texas and people come from miles around to visit. Texas wineries surround the Trade Days property so its not hard to find. It has great visibility and is always a recommendation from the locals for visitors to check out.
Fredericksburg in general is a tourist destination and every weekend it is hard to find an available hotel room or bed and breakfast unless you booked well in advance. When people come here, they come here to shop.
Vendors here seem to do reasonably well, but with any other market, location will be key. Some of the indoor spaces, particularly the barns toward the entrance, are the prime locations. If you are looking for a place to sell during the slow summer months with the ability to sell elsewhere during the holidays, this is a great market to consider.