A Day in the Sun at the Santa Clarita Open Air Market
August, 2006 - Issue #22
Long before the mall, Olive Garden, Trader Joes and all of the other fantastic shopping and eateries graced our home here in Santa Clarita, Sunday mornings found the sides of Soledad Canyon Road lined with cars from the bowling alley all the way to Bouquet Canyon.

We'd park and walk a half of a mile, if you arrived late, only to walk another mile or two looking for a good deal on anything from car accessories to furniture. Many of us arrived at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning after leaving the same place late the night before because we were watching the stock car races.

Of course, I am referring to the landmark shopping place we know as the Saugus Swapmeet, now dubbed the Santa Clarita Open Air Market.

Our Open Air Market still has much of the same character and good deals as it has for the past 30 years. My wife Lisa and I set out last Sunday to snatch up a couple deals and more importantly to stroll together, do some hand holding and reminisce about those Sunday mornings long ago when we came as children.

We set out with lattes in hand and entered the widest variety of shopping around by paying the $1.50 admission fee; this moment of commerce almost feels like paying homage to the swapmeet god.

Dave Storm and the Thunder Creek Band entertained us during lunch. Truly a party, their theme is "patriotism through music."
Dave Storm and the Thunder Creek Band entertained us during lunch. Truly a party, their theme is "patriotism through music."
No matter if you go three times a year or every weekend, it's more of a ritual than just buying a ticket. I still chuckle to myself after the gate attendant hands me my ticket stub and five steps later a guy takes the ticket from me. It's as if I just paid $75 at the Staples Center. If you've shopped at the Open Air Market, you're with me on this first piece of tradition.

Our first stop was at Nor and Zayan Nuts. More affectionately known as the Nut Guy, he's been a staple at the swapmeet for over 20 years. Fantastic candy-coated peanuts, perfectly salted almonds and dried fruit made their way into our shopping bag. The supermarket has nothing on his prices or quality.

We spent some time with Terri Burbank, general manager of the Open Air Market. and learned of the new face of the swapmeet. New food, brand new restrooms and a great new look with fantastic landscaping show the dedication of Terri's crew.

Aesthetics aside, the Open Air Market continues to create new ways to shop with the addition of an antique appraisal service coming in September. The first Sunday of the month you can bring your family heirlooms and find out if you are holding an antique treasure. You will receive a free verbal estimate for your wares by a professional antique appraiser.

Terri sent us to visit with 38-year swapmeet seller Elizabeth Taylor, resident of spot 681. She offers many collectables and some wonderful antiques. We marveled at the antique chess set, vintage crystal and china. The character of the market is present in Elizabeth, one of the nicest ladies we met. Stop in to visit her for a deal and quite a bit of humor.

We marveled at the very cool garage stools, ez-up shades and clocks - all of which would make any garage dude proud. Check out Matthew Cooper from My Hot Garage at his spot just outside the track. I'll be back for the weed-eater powered blender for our Christmas holiday parties on Clifton Place. If you're checking out the holiday lights this December and you hear the whine of a weed-eater, get out of your car and join us for some blended joy.

Lisa found stylish tanks at Cotton Stuff for a great price. They had a great selection of sizes and designs. Lisa was happy with the quality, the tank was long and the design didn't stretch beyond recognition, which I guess is important. Seems they are perfect for a casual outing or day around the house.

A great find was Jesse's Discount Furniture. We met Teresa, who showed us great home accessories and innovative ways to display them. We noticed beautiful candle sticks, pressed-tin vases with silk floral arrangements, wrought iron clocks, sconces, wall lanterns and more. If you own a new home and are trying to fill a some blank spaces or just need to redecorate your space at a great price, this might be the spot for you.

It wouldn't have been a day at the Swapmeet without some fantastic grilled BBQ. We happily spoiled our trip to the gym earlier that day and smiled with satisfaction as we consumed our brauts topped with sweet mustard. While eating our lunch we were entertained by Dave Storm and the Thunder Creek Band. Truly a party, their theme is "patriotism through music."

Our last stop for the day was at Ohana Tiki, found on the track. We met up with 15-year Newhall residents Jeff and Tami Wilson. Together we talked with shop owner Autumn Eaton about the backyard paradise the Wilson's had created using wares from Ohana Tiki's collection. Imagine a Polynesian dude with a Tiki head, surfing while carrying a palm tree. I know it seems silly but you will understand the charm of it once you stop in. Jeff was proud of his backyard creation and offered credit to Autumn and her crew.

All in all, what did our trip to the Swapmeet cost? Tickets were $3; five bags of nuts and two bags of candy were $17; sunblock (don't forget yours!) was $2; black tank top was $11; wrought iron wall sconce was $8; Tiki head was $10; lunch was $10; strolling at the Open Air Market with my wife: priceless!


The Santa Clarita Open Air Market is open every Sunday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. From October to December you can shop on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. as well.
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