BANGOR, Maine - Claire Winchester managed to hit the Riverside Flea Market at just the right time Saturday afternoon.
“What kind of end-of-the-day deal can you give me on the dog staircase?” Winchester, a Brewer resident, asked a vendor as the market started to wind down.
Winchester liked what she heard — $1 for the three-step stairs that should make life easier for Cody, Winchester’ s 18-pound Boston Terrier — and scooped it right up.
Winchester probably wasn’ t the only person downtown Saturday who got a good deal on something. In addition to the flea market, which benefits the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, the city streets also were busy with the WLBZ2 Sidewalk Art Festival, along with trunk shows and sidewalk sales hosted by some of the downtown businesses, and other people likely headed to the Bangor State Fair, which was in its final weekend.
Gray skies and humid weather didn’ t seem to stop people from attending the flea market.
“[Business] was excellent today,” said flea market vendor Tina Adams, who owns the Chamberlain Place Antiques in Brewer. “It was better than I had anticipated. & Sometimes you come to these and you don’ t want to have high expectations because of the economy. But that didn’ t show today. It was a steady stream of people all day long.”
Gardening items and jewelry were among the top sellers for Adams, she added.
Also Saturday, the Sidewalk Art Festival, which was in its 19th year, was set up on Broad Street, in Pickering and West Market squares, and along the pedestrian bridge in the area. It drew about 100 artists of all types, from oil painters to jewelry makers to wood workers. WLBZ2 estimated that around 5,000 people visit the festival each year.
“We have a lot of artists who return each year, and we have a nice [group] of new artists as well,” said WLBZ promotion-production manager Mark Parent. “People have their favorite artists, and they come back each year looking for them.”
Robin Grace, a painter from West Kingston, R.I., was named Best in Show. Felicia Teach of Portland was second and Edgar Reines of Gorham took third. WLBZ also recognized the Festival Purchase Prize winner, who this year was Kathy Perelka of Canaan. The award goes to the artist whose work the station chooses to buy.
The festival was judged by Bangor Daily News reporter Emily Burnham, University of Maine assistant professor of art Kerstin Engman and Maine native and artist Ed Nadeau.
Winchester was on her way to Bangor to buy an identification tag for the almost 5-year-old Cody when she saw the flea market as she drove from Brewer. She decided to stop and walk around, when she spotted the staircase. She also got a loaf of bread from a baker.
“I just got a new bed and he can [jump into the bed], but sometimes he misses,” Winchester said. “It’ s such a good deal, I think I’ ll give it a try.”