COARSEGOLD — Sunny blue skies and a relatively mild weather forecast were expected to help draw at least 4,000 or 5,000 people over the long weekend to the annual Labor Day Peddlers Fair at Coarsegold’s Historic Village.
The event provides an opportunity for vendors specializing in antiques and collectibles to display and “peddle” their exotic wares. There’s also plenty of fair food and specialty clothing and decorative items for sale.
This year’s Labor Day Peddlers Fair featured a healthy mix of local exhibitors as well as those who traveled from across the state and as far as Arizona and Washington.
Ruth Wardwell came from Reedley to sell her unique selection of fresh-made jams, jellies and marmalade — featuring flavors like strawberry rhubarb, spicy peach and tiger-stripe fig. “Business has been just great today,” she said. “I haven’t even had a chance to sit down yet.”
The event provides a big boost to the local economy, especially many of the businesses in and around the Historic Village, including the Wild Fig Kitchen, where noontime diners on the packed patio Saturday were munching grilled cheese caprese and Baja fish tacos.
“You couldn’t ask for a better day. Perfect weather. Great food. Friendly people. Lots of smiling faces. That’s what I like,” said Historic Village owner Diane Boland.
The popular event, which Boland started in the 1980s, kicked off bright and early Friday morning and will run though Labor Day.
About 50 vendors are exhibiting at this weekend’s event, which also serves as a fundraiser for the Yosemite High Badger football team, whose members collected parking fees and managed traffic flow. According to Boland, last year’s fair raised about $1,200 for the Badger footballers.
Steven Baker, a junior wide receiver and corner back on the team, was helping direct cars streaming in and out of the Historic Village Saturday. “The school doesn’t have a lot of extra funding for sports so things like this are crucial for us,” he said.
Badger football team members and supporters were also selling “Badger” cards at the fair for $15. The cards provide generous discounts at a number of local businesses that also support the team — which beat Parlier this past weekend by a score of 30-9.
This year’s Labor Day Peddlers Fair had a distinctively international flavor, aside from the fact that several of the booths were selling spicy Indian curries and lavender-scented candles.
Vendors on Saturday reported interacting with shoppers from as far as China, Germany and South Africa.
“We are going to Yosemite today and decided to stop in to see everything,” said Nancy Chan, a Chinese tourist visiting with her daughter and husband.
“We don’t have a lot of things like this in Taiwan,” she said. “It all looks so interesting.”
The fair also offered musical entertainment in a park-like, outdoor setting featuring L.A.-based musician Mr. EB on Saturday and Sunday, with popular local musician Phil Miller slated to play Monday.
Sporting silk sashes and cowboy boots and hats, the regal group sashayed their way through the crowd to help promote the fourth-annual Coarsegold Stampede and PRCA Rodeo, which takes place Sept. 14-15 at the Rodeo Grounds.
From table tops and display cases filled with everything from brightly colored Depression glass to old election buttons, spurs and bits, knives and rugs, there seemed to be a little something for everyone at this year’s Peddlers Fair.
First-time exhibitor Courtney Moehl, a YLP resident, had a booth promoting her new business, Courtney’s Critters, which offers a variety of pet grooming and kennel services — including custom dye jobs for dogs using a special line of pet-safe lightening cremes that turned a Chihuahua mix on display at the booth Saturday into a real attention grabber.
Moehl stayed busy most of the day fielding questions from potential customers about her new store, which is located in YLP. Many fair goers who passed the Courtney’s Critters booth actually did a double-take and then had to stop and take a selfie with the unique-looking critter.
One visitor to Moehl’s booth Saturday was actually carrying a jar of Ruth Wardwell’s tiger-stripe fig jam when she asked to pet the tiger-striped puppy.
“This being my first time having a booth at the Peddlers Fair, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Moehl said. “But I think we’ve been getting a lot of great exposure here so far this weekend. I’ve even heard people talking about us in the bathrooms.”