book fair
Story Time

Story Time: I Went to a 90s Book Fair in 2022

A few weeks ago, I saw an advertisement for the Awkward Nerd 90s Book Fair. A fair that was supposed to be an adult book fair would remind you of the Scholastic book fairs we went to as a child. I was excited when I heard there would be booths, drinks, and story time. It seemed like it was going to be a great experience for someone that is obsessed with the 90s and childhood. This was my experience…

The Aesthetic:

I want to start by saying that I don’t want this to be negative. It was a cool experience in a really outstanding place. I haven’t been to the Cooperage in Milwaukee, WI but it is a really fantastic venue. There was a Harry Potter vibe to it. There actually was a place to take a photo that looked like you were in Harry Potter. The outdoor area had tables and there was a book reading going on. It was a children’s book, though. That was when I got worried. They had said that it was supposed to be for adults. I am a former teacher. I have heard the kid’s books from the 90s and didn’t need to hear them again. 

When I walked in, it was cramped, and honestly, I was disappointed. It was 9 dollars to get into this event, or 15 dollars at the door, and there wasn’t much to do. Again, the venue is beautiful, with outdoor and indoor options, but I was left wanting more.

What To Do?

Well, there were a few things that you could do. When you walk into the venue, you can take a picture with the one- the only Clifford the Big Red Dog. This was a great photo op as we all remember Clifford so well. After that, you walk past the bar, and they have options of drinks you can purchase that are themed to the event. 

Once you walk in, there are about 8 booths that were book authors, or bookstores that were selling their books or just promoting their business. This was my second red flag, that maybe this wasn’t what I was expecting. There were tables that were selling tabletop games, and most of the authors were selling fantasy books. Also, there were a few tables that were just selling any type of book which I enjoyed. There was a raffle where you could win swag bags. These included old McDonald’s toys, candy, and books. 

I ended up buying some bookmarks and a card from a table because they were cute. They had vintage pins that were converted into magnets and some really cute things. Shout out to Something Peaceful. Please check them out, they make everything handmade and they make great quality items. I went upstairs to find 4 Lego builds that were moderately impressive.

When I went outside, the book reading was done and there was a craft area. You could make friendship bracelets or you could color one of those fuzzy Lisa Frank posters. That was it.


I was moderately disappointed with this experience. If you were to walk in without knowing what it was, you wouldn’t know it was 90s-themed. You wouldn’t know it was supposed to be a book fair. There was nothing that screamed anything that they advertised. It was cute, and there were good things about it, but it didn’t meet my expectations. 

I really love nostalgia, so my expectations were to walk into a place that made me feel nostalgic, and alas, I did not. I had a good time, and my friend got me a cute swag bag. This included Fruit Stripes Gum, which made me very excited! I hope they continue to try these events. I have an 80s and 90s vintage fair I am going to in a few weeks, and hopefully, that will be better.

Check out: 

Come on and Zoom (1999) 

As always, Creating Nostalgia Millennial Style!

Leave a Reply