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We happened to arrive in time for the annual community garage sale in nearby Brunswick Heads. The Old and Gold Festival sounded like our kind of event, with lots of rummaging around and maybe a treasure or two as a result.

The people-watching was fabulous, unparalleled by anywhere we’ve been in Australia. This tiny town, just up from the surfing and hipster central of Byron Bay, filled to the brim with all kinds of people, all colors, styles, and interests. I was drawn to listen in on the conversation of a group of four women. All had long, long wavy hair, wore long dresses, ankle boots, and carried huge, HUGE, patterned cloth bags, they were a striking group. Some looked like they were about to tip over, or collapse onto the bundle like a bean bag chair and sit down for a rest. These bags stashed their vintage clothing finds. “I’m just picking up bits and pieces, for shoots, y’know,” said one particularly willowy specimen peering over her sunglasses at the others. Her friends nodded knowingly, and they went on to compare notes on where and what they’d found.

Babies, dogs, dreads, were everywhere. Some people looked stylish, a white jumpsuit with a wide leather belt or flowing skirts with layered vests. At the other extreme some people wore so many layers of multicolored shirts and ponchos they were like walking rainbows. Men wore shirts of Guatemalan cloth, or a bow tie, or a ratty tshirt. Younger women wore long dresses with boots, while a white haired woman wore turquoise hat, scarf and shirt. There was red with green, purple with canary yellow, plaids with stripes, and colors everywhere. There wasn’t even time to acknowledge the super short shorts, and this being Australia, the extensive tattoos on arms and legs of most men and women under the age of 50.

We had a coffee watching the passersby and fell into conversation with a family who live in the area. We talked about travel, favorite places locally, and politics, at which point we dragged ourselves away to think happier thoughts.

We passed my favorite vendor’s stand that incorporated a boat play area.

In the end, Jonathan found some particularly interesting sausage, blue cheese and a delicious fresh baguette, while I scored a pair of Mexican silver earrings at a bargain price. The Old and Gold Festival was a morning well spent.

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