The crowds numbered in the thousands yesterday in balmy downtown Benicia, situated on the Sacramento River Delta and graced with the delta's breezes on a hot summer's day. A Table Chez Nous was there too, with our tablecloth display pop-up just outside the oiutdoor plaza of the historic St. Paul's Cathedral downtown. The annual Benicia Peddler's fair, held this year on Sat., Aug. 11, helps raise funds to restore the church's stained glass windows and to keep up its grounds. The church was built ten years after the gold rush, in 1859, and was the one of the first churches built in Benicia, which had been the state capital of California until 1854.
Many historic buildings remain in the area, with wood structured California bungalows and craftsman style homes populating the back streets and alleyways of this picturesque town. Our colorful linens attracted many new clients, and I imagined them finding a lucky place by a dining room window in one of these historic structures. There as even a contingent of women from St. Paul's Episcopal Parish. apparently word had spread about us, and one by one, the volunteers for the day's events snuck away from a shift for a few minutes to buy some Provençal treasure before we entirely sold out of the more popular items.
We were able to speak some French with some of the passers by, and there was even a lady with a real, live lizard dressed up in wings and fake diamonds who paid us a visit, to get out of the scorching sun for just a few minutes. We were surrounded by vendors of vintage artifacts, castoffs from other times and eras, as well as the displays of vintage Hawaiian shirts and prints of well known French artists. From 100 yards away came by the sounds of the various orchestras and bands who performed on the steps outside the cathedral, to the thrall of the crowd and to help raise more funds for the glory of God.
We will come back next year, nous y serons à la prochaine année. I hope we the vendors and our clients return to see the windows finally restored, as the result of our collective good deeds to help.
Morgana was born in Les Lilas, France, and is now living in San Diego, California. Her mother lives in San Rafael, CA.