Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, April 21

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Here's some fun stuff and places to go for the upcoming week.

Surplus Vehicle Auction
Saturday, May 21st, 10am
Rolling Meadows Public Works Facility
3900 Berdnick, Rolling Meadows

Need a cheap car? Here's the place you just might find a bargain. The Northwest Municipal Conference is having their annual surplus vehicle sale. Most of the cars are from police departments, park districts and water agencies in the suburbs. In this auction they have Crown Victorias, Ford Tempos, vans, pick-ups and even a couple of snow plows. (Wouldn't that be fun to drive around in a Chicago winter).

As far as the cars go, I've found that most of the vehicles in this type of auction have been well maintained by the towns. (And since they've been driven by political appointees, they also come with that fat cat bureaucrat smell.)

The auction preview and registration starts at 8am and the auction starts at 10am. You'll need a drivers license and a $200 deposit to get a bidder's number. The deposit is refunded at the end of the auction if you don't buy anything. It's an open auction with an auctioneer calling out the bids. If you're the winning bidder you're expected to pay for the car in full at the end of the sale. Bring a buddy so you can have him/her drive home your beater while you drive home in your new prize.

Check the website for directions.

Zap Props & Antiques
3611 S. Loomis

So you're looking for that perfect tiki statue for the mantle and just can't find it anywhere. Or maybe you need some vintage beer advertising to spice up the den. Look no further my friend, Zap Props has what you want and a whole lot more. Located in a huge warehouse on the west side of Bridgeport, Zap Props is a true hidden gem of the city. I've known the owners Bill (who is just known as Zap) and Mary Ann Rawski for many years now, and they never disappoint me when I visit. I always find something cool to take home with me. They have the largest collection of quality antiques in the city. First time visitors always walk around in a daze over the sheer volume of great stuff they have.

Zap started out as an dealer who specialized in antique advertising and toys. As his collection grew they started renting out antiques as props for movies and photographers. As the prop house business grew he and Mary Ann branched out into the restaurant decor business. They provide the old signs and crapola that hangs on the walls of many local restaurants. If you've ever been inside a Portillo's restaurant, you've seen some of Zap's work.

The thing I like about the place is that they're real people. Bill and Mary Ann aren't snobs and they go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. The prices aren't cheap but they're not unreasonable. This is an instance of you get what you pay for.

Zap also provides a picture framing service. It's a place you can go with an old photograph or negative and they'll blow it up, retouch it and put it in an antique frame. I've had most of the stuff hanging on the walls in my house done at Zap.

Check their website for detailed directions and hours. It's usually best to call ahead to let them know you're coming.

Grayslake All-Nighter
Saturday May 21st 5pm to 4am
Lake County Fairgrounds
Route 120 (Belvidere Road) and Route 45
Four miles west of I-94 Tollway

One of the goofiest things about antiquing in the Chicago area is the quaint tradition of "all night markets." It's an antique show that starts when the sun is going down and ends at an ungodly hour of the morning. The Wheaton Antique Market has been doing them for years and now Grayslake is jumping on the bandwagon. For the life of me I cannot understand what the big attraction is. OK, there's stuff to buy, it's dark and you have to use a flashlight. Other than that I just don't get it. I must be in the minority because thousands of people show up every time an all-nighter is announced. I guess it's kind of cool to see hundreds of ebayers running around in a field with flashlights, digging through boxes trying to find that next treasure. It's like an easter egg hunt for adults.

As antique shows go, Grayslake is one of the better run shows. The place is clean, the food is good and the parking is free. But what makes Grayslake worth the trip is the quality of merchandise.

Graylake always gets lots of dealers who make the trip down from Wisconsin to sell at the market. Most of the Wisconsin dealers make it the only show they do in Illinois because it's a relatively short trip back home. This is one of the reasons it seems like Grayslake always seems to have more interesting stuff for sale than the other local antique shows. It's a place where you can fill your car with treasure and drive home broke.

Don't forget your flashlight.
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About the Author(s)

Ron Slattery is a collector of interesting junk and other wonderment. You can visit him at and

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