Cowboys, Civil War soldiers and pirates, oh my! With such a roll call, it should be a grand time at the 19th annual Old Time Peddler's Faire this weekend.
Held each year at Pioneer Village at the Kern County Museum, this year's event truly will head back to the past with some special guests.
"In the past, we've had living history groups. (This year) we have 1880s cowboys and a Civil War living history group, said organizer Mark Bianchi. And "for the first time ever, we'll have the pirate group (from Safe Halloween)."
Locally based Pirate Guild, led by Kenny Mount, won't put on quite the display they do for the museum's annual Halloween event, but will set up a "pirate camp" for the weekend, along with the living history groups.
That cast of colorful characters might find quarters to be tight, even on the museum's eight acres, as up to 200 vendors set up shop.
"This year we're at capacity. We're trying to fit people in wherever we can."
With such an impressive number of vendors, the event should live up to Bianchi's description: "You can find pretty much anything. Something for 50 cents or you can spend $1,000."
From antique toys and advertising signs to glassware, pottery and primitives (housewares and tools made around the turn of the last century), there's plenty to peruse.
"You never know what you're going to find. Even if they specialize in something."
So what's the most interesting item Bianchi has seen?
"One year a fellow had three beautiful barber chairs. The most interesting was a child's barber chair. He sold them all. They weren't cheap either."
Price is no object to some aficionados. Bianchi said he was drawn to antiques based on his interest in American Indian art and baskets as well as furniture from the Arts and Crafts movement, also known as Craftsman.
Even though he doesn't describe himself as an avid collector, Bianchi said the event has an edge over visiting local antique shops.
"We have some vendors from San Diego to Oregon. That makes it interesting. If you go to the stores here things change, but slowly. If you go to the faire, you have lots of things you haven't seen before. That's one reason we get a lot of dealers (shopping). They don't know what they're going to see."
Vendors buy from other vendors, and those aforementioned eager dealers take advantage of the early bird deal -- pay $15 for entrance two hours before the general public -- to snap up goods.
"It's a small percentage (of overall attendees), but it's a very loyal group. They tend to be the ones at estate sales. It's kind of interesting."
If it sounds like too much to take in in one day, the $10 admission covers attendance for Saturday and Sunday with a hand stamp. ("Be careful washing your hands!" Bianchi warned.)
"When you go to the Pasadena Rose Bowl. They have an antique section, a craft section and more. If it works for them so well, why wouldn't it work for us here? It's a formula that works."
The local formula also includes live music -- jazz from Doug Davis and Friends -- and food vendors -- nine to 10, including Los Hermanos, Goose Loonies, Ben & Jerry's, hot dogs, shaved ice, funnel cakes and pit beef from the Rosedale Lions Club.
Of course, being Bakersfield, this event is about more than just dining and deals. The faire has partnered again for its Coats for Kids drive. Bring a new or gently used children's coat for $5 off admission.
"Last year we were hoping to get 100 jackets and we got 500 jackets. ... I don't want to speculate (for this year) but I think because people are now familiar with it, we may bring in more."
With so many reasons to check out this year's event, Bianchi couldn't help but add a few final incentives. "There's an ATM machine out there and free parking."