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Treasure seekers drawn to Street Faire debut

STERLING – Diane Tackett enjoys rummage sales.

The Sterling woman perused a few tables of household items Friday, the first day of the Sterling Street Faire, a sort of community garage sale. She clutched a knickknack in one hand and turned over a few pieces of jewelry with the other.

“I never know what I’m looking for until I find it,” she said.

Tackett came to the first day of the new fair to show her support for the downtown.

“I like that they’re trying to draw people together in the downtown,” she said. “It’s nice to have another place to walk around and shop around.”

About a half-dozen vendors peddled their wares Friday afternoon. They offered household items, tools and crafts. One woman sold 31 purses and bags. Another woman sold Appetite Control and Energy diet supplements.

A handful of people browsed the tables in the first half-hour of the fair Friday afternoon. Several more treasure seekers trickled in from the sidewalk and parking lot within the hour.

Gerald Bailey occasionally sells items of decent value.

The Rock Falls man had the largest selection of items Friday. He had price tags on dishware and cookware, decorative items and small home furniture.

“I’ve been wanting to get into selling things in town,” he said. “But no one ever had an incentive or a place to do it.”

Bailey, who used to sell goods at the old antique mall and flea market (now the Walmart near the interstate) in Dixon, set up shop at the new fair to make a little money in a larger, more public setting.

“People who go to garage sales want you to give your stuff away,” he said. “I don’t have high prices, but I don’t want to give it away for free either.”

Tackett and Bailey both hope the fair takes off, drawing more vendors and, in turn, more bargain hunters. Both believe the fair has potential to become an “event” in downtown Sterling.

The Sterling Street Faire runs from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the 300 block of West Third Street, just west of County Market. The nearby Twin City Farmers Market, 106 Avenue A, is open from 8 a.m. to noon today.

The fair is open to anyone. Admission for shoppers is free. For-profit vendors can sell for the weekend for $25, while nonprofits can sell for free.

The Sterling Street Faire will be held on the second and fourth weekends of the month from 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Call 815-441-3916 or email for more information.

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