The Gold Rush Book Fair May 17th in Grass Valley, California

- by Bruce E. McKinney


An opportunity for collectors.

By Bruce McKinney

As certain as the arrival of spring birds the Gold Rush Book Fair enters the calendars of those who live in northern California, who visit and who buy, sell, collect and trade the printed word in all its many forms. With fifty to fifty-five exhibitors it's a typical regional fair with a distinctive emphasis on collectible material, in particular the American west.

It's the 8th annual fair and this the 6th year it's held at the Nevada County Fair Grounds on the outskirts of Grass Valley. In this location it's both close to downtown and just far enough away to make parking easy. The fair is three hours northeast of San Francisco and sixty minutes northeast of Sacramento. It's a one day event Saturday May 17th.

As is custom, the event begins with an exhibitors' dinner on Friday evening. This year Michael Good of Woodacre, long-time Bay Area bookman, is both honored guest bookseller and speaker at the dinner. Mr. Good is an engaging character. The event will be held at the Masonic Lodge under the guiding hand of Waynette Trovato, an outstanding chef whose husband is the police chief. No complaints are expected.

The appeal of this and similar regional books fairs is very straightforward. A significant percentage of material offered at such fairs is undocumented, in particular the ephemera which can appear insubstantial but is hardly inconsequential. Such material illuminates the spaces between books which are typically well documented and newspapers that are known in outline but rarely searchable by date, name, place and event. Here you have an opportunity to parse obscure material and acquire relevant pieces.

The event is organized by John and Susie Hardy who, between shows, make a living as Hardy Books of Nevada City. John, a former lawyer, now makes only arresting observations between sales of the printed word.

As we go to press a few spaces remain. The booth rent is an affordable $290. For the experienced bookseller it's two days in the country, for the neophyte bookseller a chance to be behind the table so to gain a seller’s experience.

For book, manuscript and ephemera collectors, it's the opportunity to catch up with old friends and old materials newly uncovered. Collectors, new to the field or simply new to this event, will find a collegial community interested to work with you.

All things show related, contact information, a map and directions will be found via this link to the Gold Rush Book Fair's web site. Mr. Hardy can be reached by phone at 530.470.0189 for those interested to exhibit.