Heat wave fails to deter diehard shoppers, athletes

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A weekend heat wave sent temperatures soaring near 100 degrees in the Auburn area but couldn’t keep die-hard antique shoppers, weekend warriors and home-improvement enthusiasts from turning out to popular annual events. The crowds came early Sunday to the Old Town Business Association’s 41st annual Antiques & Collectibles Street Fair, with vendors noting that shoppers beat the heat by arriving between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. The National Weather Service reported an overnight low of 70 degrees. Jon Bruscia, an Old Town Sacramento antiques dealer, set up temporary shop along Sacramento Street and sought whatever shade he could find as the sun began to climb in the sky. By mid-morning the temperature was already flirting with the 90-degree mark. “It’s the hottest I’ve ever seen it for the spring fair,” he said. “It’s the first time someone turned the microwave on.” Renee Blevins of Grass Valley said the heat wave — which started late last week — came as a surprise. She carried an umbrella as she looked and found antique clothing and costumes. “People who are looking for antiques will suffer for a lot,” Blevins said. The mother-and-daughter shopping team of Lynn and Emma McClain were protected by brimmed hats. They too found some treasures — a tin box and a small water pitcher — but weren’t enjoying the heat. “We’re not getting used to this,” said mom Emma. “It’s a little too hot for us.” Bottled water sellers like Susan Barnhart’s kettle corn booth were in line for some extra business. “It’s a hot commodity today,” Barnhart punned. The sun didn’t deter participants in three separate endurance events that took in cycling, swimming and running in the Auburn area and ended at the Auburn Dam Overlook — the World’s Toughest Half triathlon, the Auburn International Triathlon and the Auburn International Duathlon. Toughest Half organizer Brad Kearns said the heat led him to move sections of the event out of the steep American River Canyon. A total of more than 500 athletes participated. At the same time, the Auburn Home Show was drawing thousands of home-improvement enthusiasts to the Gold Country Fairgrounds for the third day of the event. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at, or leave a comment on this story at