A happy 1st birthday for "York Does Vintage"

©Laura Reynolds

You can’t have failed to notice the posters advertising the Now and Then Events “York Does Vintage” 1st birthday event which took place at the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall on Saturday. However, if you saw the flyers and thought it was just another vintage fair, like the one at the Barbican last week and the Hospitium a couple of weeks before, you were wrong.

This is more than just a vintage fair. It is a shopping experience, an event even, highlighted by the fact that it has been shortlisted for Visit York’s “Best Shopping Experience” award. In addition to a plethora of stalls selling everything vintage, from clothes to homewares, sweets to jewellery, there were events and workshops running alongside the shopping. For the more domesticated visitor, there was a chance to make your own bunting, or learn how to apply the most intricate designs to cupcakes, courtesy of No More Tiers.

Despite being rushed off their feet, organisers Sam Agnew and Alex Claydon were able to spare time to talk to The Yorker about the event, and were clearly delighted at its success, with more than 500 visitors through the doors in the first 90 minutes. “The new venue has a lot to with it. It’s a lot more central [than St. William’s College, where previous events have been held]” said Sam.

Were they expecting the event to be as successful as it was? “You can never tell” said Alex, “You always worry the night before that no-one is going to turn up.” These fears, it seems, were ungrounded, as more than 2,000 visitors made their way through the doors over the course of the day, for the bargain entry price of £1 (50p for students), which included a free goody bag.

Cakes by No More Tiers ©Laura Reynolds

Looking around, it was easy to see the wide appeal of the fair; families with young children shopped alongside elderly women, alongside fashion hungry students. Children were kept entertained with a variety of activities, from performers such as Lindy Hop dancers and jewellery making workshops from Made by Me to Kids Bee Happy sand art workshops, and there was even a tearoom with space to take the weight off your feet, selling delicious cupcakes courtesy of Curiositea Cakes

As well as sending happy customers on their way at the end of the day, many of the stallholders were delighted with the success of the event too, proclaiming Now and Then Events to host the most successful vintage fairs, and stating that they return to the events for the atmosphere as much as for the wealth of custom that they get. Sam and Alex clearly have a good rapport with stallholders; many are regulars, including From Vintage to Vogue and ItchyCoo Vintage and are happy to advertise Now and Then events within the vintage trading community. New stallholders were also well represented- Huntingdon School even had a stall as part of the nationwide Young Enterprise scheme, selling items made by the students.

©Laura Reynolds

As well as giving traders, vintage lovers and performers a chance to come together under one roof, and encouraging young entrepreneurs, the event also raised money for Snappy and Alzheimer’s Society. Not bad for a company which has just celebrated its first birthday!

For information about upcoming Now and Then events, including Opulence on April 12th and York Does Vintage on April 15th, search ‘Now and Then Events’ on Facebook.

For more photos of the event, check out The Yorker’s Flickr account.

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