From the smell of freshly popped kettle corn to the live banjo performances, we are head over heels for street fairs. While it may be a pain to withdraw some petty cash from your account, when you buy from local vendors at street fairs, you support local businesses and get great products. But with dozens of booths and attractions, it can be hard to pinpoint where you should spend your hard-earned cash. Luckily, we’ve conjured up a list of our favorite street fair items that make great gifts or just great staples to have in your home. Here are 10 neat things to look out for at your next street fair.
1. Artisanal Bread And Cakes
Sure, you could get a loaf of bread from your grocery store for five dollars, but will it have the same amount of craftsmanship and care as a mini cake or loaf from your street fair? Plus, chances are that at the bread booth, you’ll have your fair share of free samples as well as a good variety of choices to make the most informed decision possible, so your purchase will be more of an investment than a gamble. Our personal choice of bread is rosemary sourdough, and for cake, orange of any kind. Get a few loaves and have a nice snack with coffee after your morning classes!
2. Local Tea
Ever wonder why the tea industry was so big back in the day? Maybe after you enjoy a few batches of handcrafted, local tea blends, you’ll understand why. A cup of hot tea is always a wonderful, relaxing luxury, but we have to admit that there’s a huge difference between the mass-produced stuff and the blends provided by independent businesses. If you happen to stop upon a tea booth at your street fair, feel free to take your time and see if one particular tea fits your fancy.
3. Home Decor
If like us, your Instagram feed features quite a few interior design posts (we’re looking at you HGTV), you’ve likely seen that a farmhouse chic aesthetic is becoming quite popular. One of the best ways to add some rustic charm to your own home is by checking out the home decor (such as signs and paintings) at your next street fair. These pieces are often hand-lettered on wooden backgrounds, and spell out warm sentiments such as “live, laugh, love“. Even if you can only afford a smaller piece that day, it’ll add lots of artistic charm to your space!
4. Dried Fruit
Full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, dried fruit makes for an awesome snacking choice in between classes and work. But who can say what kinds of chemicals are lurking in the store-bought varieties? If you have a chance, check out a dried fruit stand at your next street fair (or farmer’s market), which more often than not will feature organic fruit picked at its peak and naturally dried (no preservatives here). Our favorites include tangy pineapple rings and tart freeze-dried strawberries.
5. Turquoise Jewelry
If you’re a fan of eclectic accessories, then the street fair is the place for you! Every fair we’ve visited thus far has had at least a couple of booths filled with gorgeous turquoise jewelry, and we found them all to have been reasonably priced. Plus, if you go to a turquoise vendor, they’re not likely to cheat you out of your money- they know how to spot the real stuff from the fake stuff and will even be happy to help you figure out what piece will best suit you. We dare you to try on a few rings and not fall completely in love with the look.
6. Handmade Candles
Candles are one of those things that you can rarely have too much of… after a few minutes of burning, they make your entire house smell like a dream! And some of the best candles you can purchase are made by local candlemakers with essential oils and soy- so just take a look at a booth at your next street fair and see which ones suit your style best. Pro tip: citrus scents are great for diluting nearly any odor, and cinnamon is wonderful for warming up your space.
7. Essential Oils
Believe it or not, there is a way to get your essential oil fix without getting a crazy expensive monthly subscription. There are likely a few local businesses who will give you a much better deal on organically sourced oils than whatever big corporation will, all you’ve got to do is keep your eyes peeled at your street fair. Just make sure to go in with a plan, such as “I’ll get one bottle for energy and another for helping with insomnia”. Otherwise, you might end up with more than you know what to do with!
It’s sad but true: most of us spend a lot more time watching T.V. than reading. But if you’ve got a handful of new (or second hand) books from your street fair, it’s hard to resist curling up and reading them ASAP! Lots of new authors come out at street fairs with fresh copies of their recent novels (and may just offer a local discount), while others sell gently used classics and best-selling books. After one trip, you may just have enough leisure reading to last you the rest of the year.
While the little plastic honey bears you see at the store are adorable, locally sourced honey is even better. Although it seems like a rather antiquated trade, beekeeping is still a profitable pursuit, and many beekeepers have abundant stores of honey to show for their hard work. Not only would a golden jar of honey be the perfect addition to your pantry, but adding it to hot water with lemon is the perfect remedy for the common cold. Whether you only get a few honey sticks or enough honey for a few months, you can be sure you’re getting a sweet deal either way.
10. Ceramics And Pottery
Ceramic mugs and plates may not have been the best choices when you were a little kid (we can remember several instances of unfortunate accidents), but now that you’re all grown up, intricately designed dish wear will make every meal something to look forward to. While you’re there, keep an eye out for a set of silverware that’ll make a great wedding gift for whichever one you’re invited to next.
Which street fair goodies will you be on the lookout for next? Do you like street fairs as much as we do? Tell us in the comments below!
featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Umfyvw6cyE0
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.