The city of Arcadia has positioned itself as center for antiques in Florida. We found a lot of quaint little shops there, but the Bizarre Bazaar is an antique store with an unusual atmosphere. We discovered it on the second floor of the Arcadia Opera house.
Those who follow us know we like the fun and the funky – and this qualifies on both counts.
It was easy to see that we needed to be in good condition to get up the wide flight of stairs – but it was worth the trip. At the top we found 9,000 square feet of some of the most interesting antiques and curios we’d ever seen.
Proprietor Jim Crosby told us that he runs part of the operation, then rents out various rooms to other shops. As far as we are concerned it was the most eclectic collection of pieces we’d ever seen. My favorite hands down was the record room. I thumbed through hundreds of old LP albums and 78s while my wife was looking at antique clothing and accessories.
In addition to the records there were lots of posters, sheet music, point of purchase advertising pieces and other music-related memorabilia for sale. I was captivated by a ceramic bust of The King himself.
But we found so many more items as we visited the various rooms. There were spaces full of paintings, books, games, seasonal and holiday fare.
In the game room I found different pieces ranging from recent Star Wars-themed items, all the way back to puzzles from the 1930s. This is a place where we could take the grandchildren and explain how, at one time, these were fun and quite common pastimes for youngsters.
In the main theater area there was shelf upon shelf of glassware. old soda bottles, silverware, pots, pans, trays and crockware. I asked James if he’d ever actually missed a garage sale.
“Not many,” he replied.
This list does not begin to scratch the surface of the items available. We saw vintage electronics from slide projectors to timers. There were antique kitchen tools and even bamboo root carvings.
But as we said, the Bizarre Bazaar was a lot more than just the artifacts. James put a lot of architectural interest in the place. As I walked out of the antique clothing room, something told me to look up. I did – and was greeted by a little fun feature.
The checkout counter was located inside the theater itself, just below the balcony. There James had his glass cases full of jewelry and other small artifacts. He also had a record player where he selected various albums for the shoppers to enjoy.
We were treated to Perez Prado and Shorty Rogers’ Voo Doo Suite while we were there.
Possibly the largest antique is the theater itself – which is intact. That included the balcony and the stage. James didn’t waste any space. Up on the stage we found furniture, lamps, theater lighting fixtures, and old horse drawn carriage among other things.
While we were walking the halls, we came upon what appeared to be the original projector. It was a huge piece of machinery. We wondered aloud how they got it up into the building and positioned it to show the various movies that had been displayed over the life of the theater.
The Biggest on the Strip
The Bizarre Bazaar is not the only antique store, but it is billed as the largest in town. And when it comes to antique stores in Arcadia, we really had our choice. But we can tell you without a doubt – you will not find a more fun and funky place to visit.
Who knows? You might come home with a treasure! We did.