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Article reproduced from the Denver Post 07/19/07

Denver an antiques bazaar
Bargain hunters flock to open-air Saturday markets

By Heather Grimshaw
Special to The Denver Post

Aged rocking chairs, fine china, old mirrors, collectible jewelry, funky toys and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts: You name it and someone is either selling it or searching for it at these outdoor markets. (Photo courtesy of Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center)A series of open-air antiques markets is drawing shoppers from as far as Kansas and Missouri to metro Denver from April through October.

These Saturday events showcase hundreds of vendors with a selection that appeals to antiques seekers of all ages.

For many shoppers, these markets have become a favorite weekend ritual. Friends gather for breakfast beforehand; mothers' groups meet with kids in tow to troll stalls for unique gifts and home accessories.

From aged rocking chairs to fine china, antiques markets offer discerning shoppers a plethora of choices.

Rain or shine, shoppers descend on the bazaars in search of items for indoor and outdoor rooms alike.

A 6-year-old bargain hunter is among the throng. Ethan Perry of Littleton likes to haggle with Paris Street Market dealers for the bejeweled broaches that adorn a corkboard in his room. His 4-year- old sister Grace delights in $1 Barbie dolls. Their mother, Heather, arrives early to shop with friends and later returns with the kids.

"Ethan asks about it," she says. "He'll say, 'Is it time for the Paris Market yet?"'

This is the first year for the Rendezvous Market in Broomfield, the second year for the Sweet William Market in Stapleton, and the seventh and 10th years respectively for the Paris and Ballpark markets.

While free to the public, these markets charge vendors between $100 and $200 per event. Some organizers also review sellers' wares before accepting them.

"We do say no to some people if they don't meet our expectations and branding," says Kim Kouba. She and fellow antiques lover Lizzie Kienast started the Sweet William Market last year.

Their selective approach to vendors has secured a loyal shopper in Diane Gordon, an interior designer who recently purchased a sofa table for $100 and an old magazine stand to hold design catalogs. A Stapleton resident, Gordon has purchased pottery and small paintings in the past. She brings her daughter to look at jewelry.

"Lizzie and Kim are very picky," she says. "They look for special things."

Susan Treadway of Denver keeps every third Saturday free for the Ballpark Market. After downsizing from a three-bedroom home to a condo, Treadway limits herself to small items like a $5 wicker basket she plans to paint white and a $4 vintage dress with rhinestone buttons. "I figure the buttons alone are worth at least that much," she says.

Unlike malls and stores, antiques markets offer things that cannot be found elsewhere, says Stacey Johnson. She started the Paris Market with her sister, Kim Dahlquist, in 2000.

"People enjoy the treasure- hunting aspect - digging through a box of what appears to be cast-offs and finding a piece of lace, a yard of top quality chintz, (or) a clock that makes the perfect addition to a mantle," Johnson says.

But this eclectic style is not for everyone.

"If you want anything in your dining room, living room, etc., to match, this probably isn't the place to achieve that," Johnson says. But those seeking Parisian-apartment style will be inspired.

Stephanie Sawyer agrees. This one-time vendor who sold stained-glass teacup mosaics at the Paris Street Market now travels from her Manitou Springs home just to shop.

"I feel like I get a lot for the money I spend," she says. Her purchases have included botanical prints, two orange antique chairs for the yard, three vintage lamps and pieces of linen that she used to make a skirt.

Reasonable prices often lure shoppers to the markets, which offer stock ranging from a $5 antique children's bowling set to a $500 dresser.

Some people choose one market a month. Other dedicated antiques seekers complete the circuit by earmarking each Saturday of the summer.

Aaron and Judy Bulow recently carted away a $100 bureau for their guest bedroom from the Sweet William Market.

"We had relatives coming that weekend," Judy says. "They needed it for their clothes."

A Paris Street Market sponsored by: Vandel Antiques

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