This latest vendor in our spotlight series needs no introduction. If you have been to Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days in the last 30 years, chances are, you have had a delicious ice cream sandwich or two, or three, from Mama Meg's Parlour. Here's your chance to learn a little more about the people behind the famous ice cream sandwiches. Meet Megan and David of Mama Meg's Parlour.

First, I have to ask, who is Mama Meg? Mama Meg is my wife, Meghan. The business is named after her because she is a hard working mom to our five children. It just seemed appropriate!

You have been handcrafting these delicious ice cream sandwiches since 1958 and we have a woman named Kathy to thank for it. Tell us a little bit about Kathy and how it all got started. Kathy's mom started making them for her kids as a special treat around 1958. Everybody loved them so much that Kathy started selling them at Gold Rush in 1981. We enjoy carrying on her legacy of high quality and rolling each one by hand! 

Your sign says "Famous Ice Cream Sandwiches" and that is certainly true! Every vendor and shopper I have talked to says their favorite treat during Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is your homemade ice cream sandwiches! Tell us a little bit about how you became so famous. They are amazing! Just eat one and they speak for themselves. We've had little kids and adults all the way up to their 90's claim that they are the best ice cream sandwiches they have ever had! 

You are a long-time Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush favorite. When did you start coming to our show and what keeps you coming back year after year? Kathy started coming in 1981 and we took over 30 years later. We love the show, the people, and the culture! 

What sandwich flavor is more popular? Vanilla or mint chocolate chip? 
The vanilla are about 70% and mint about 30%. This year we have a limited addition of strawberry sandwiches and they are gaining popularity. 

Be honest. How much ice cream do you eat every day? During the summer season, about one serving of ice cream every other day. However, David only eats 1 ice cream sandwich a year so that he doesn't get sick of them and he doesn't lose the joy of eating them!

I love the sandwiches but nothing quenches my thirst during Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days like one of your delicious root beer floats! Please tell me they will always be part of the menu!
We are very particular about our root beer floats. They start with a super premium ice cream and the best root beer: Sprechers root beer from Wisconsin. We added them because they are so refreshing on a hot day and we plan to always have them!

Word on the street is that you are opening a storefront in Pine Island. Tell us a little bit more about that.
We've been collecting local diner and soda fountain memorabilia from the 1920's-50's and have been looking for an appropriate location. What better location than an 1890's drug store. We are 6th generation Pine Islanders and felt it was time for an ice cream storefront!! We are still under construction but will for sure be open by next spring. We will serve our famous ice cream sandwiches, super premium ice cream, root beer floats, and a surprise or two added to our menu. We will be aptly named "Tribute Soda Fountain" as we pay homage to local diners and soda fountains. 115 S. Main St in Pine Island.

We all look forward to your delicious treats during Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days August 16-17th! Until then, where can we grab one of those famous ice cream sandwiches? You can catch us each week at Rochester's Thursdays Downtown (formerly Thursdays on First & Third) and always available by catering. 

I don't know about the rest of you but I plan on visiting Mama Meg's a few times during Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days! Join us August 16th, 17th and 18th to shop for treasures and enjoy some great treats!

Do you have concerns about your well water? Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is happy to welcome Olmsted County Public Health Services along with the Southeast Minnesota Water Analysis Lab to our show on Friday, August 16th.

Stop by the Downtown Oronooco Gold Rush Days Information Booth on Friday, August 16th from 10am-4pm where the Southeast Minnesota Water Analysis Lab (SEMWAL) and Olmsted County Public Health (OCPHS) will be offering free water testing for nitrates for individuals who get their water from a private well. The process is quick, easy and convenient. Water samples need to be collected in a clean, never used, disposable receptacle (e.g., water-tight quart-size plastic bag) and brought to the Public Health booth/tent. Results will be provided within 5 minutes. Staff will also provide information about water quality, the health risks of nitrates, and how they may indicate additional concerns.

Oronoco Gold Rush - Friday, August 16 | 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Information Booth

You never know where life will take you. I bet our featured vendor never thought that would she'd find herself living in the little town of Oronoco, MN where she traveled every year from Iowa to shop and sell antiques! Meet Kathy, our latest shopper/vendor featured in the series.

Kathy, you have a very unique Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days experience in that you have been a vendor and a shopper and now you have a home in Oronoco! Your daughter remembers coming up to the show from Iowa as a child to spend the weekend helping at your booth. Tell us a little bit about your history with the show. 
Early on  Steve and I innocently started thrifting and buying our household items used. It's what we could afford. We also found it was a lot more interesting to shop that way than to buy new. Along with our daughter Jessica, the three of us took adventures whenever we had free weekends. When we would take day trips or vacations we were always veering off the route for an auction, antique store, flea market, you name it. 

During the 1990's we set up at several antique shows in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri. It was a time when many people were buying, selling and collecting antiques. Oronoco had a reputation as a profitable and fun market for vendors and buyers of all types. Over the years we had such a diverse, but like minded clientele. Decorators, designers, artists, artisans, and collectors of all types. Steve and I developed our individual tastes. Jessica had a great eye for the visual appeal of anything we picked up. Over the years she stashed some great textiles, arts and crafts pottery, fiestaware, and other eclectic finds she now decorates her home with. 

One of the hardest things about being a vendor would be deciding what to keep and what to sell. What are some of your favorite "keeps" over the years?
The things I cannot part with are; early Americana Folk Arts and crafts and individual quality work with age. Quilts and textiles of all sorts that bring color and creativity to our space.  

What advice to you have for shoppers at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days? My tip for buyers: It is not offensive to ask a dealer what their best price is on an item. For me, the more my customers bought from me and the more they repeated business each year, the better the bargains were....

I mentioned you had a unique experience with Gold Rush, part of that is you now have a home in Oronoco.  We are so happy to have you! Tell us a little bit about what brought you to our little town. Jessica married, and was educated as a nurse. Her and Adam (also a nurse) came to Rochester to work in the Mayo health system. They have three young daughters (our grandchildren) and built a home in Oronoco. Steve and I are now approaching 60, winding down our "real work" and our life goal is now to be in our grandaughter's lives as much as possible. When a special old house by the river in Oronoco came back on the market, I twisted Steve's arm sight unseen to buy it...I had admired that home every time I came to Oronoco. Now it was less than a mile to visit our grandkids!

We are so happy to have Kathy as a long-time shopper of Downtown Ornooco Gold Rush Days and a new citizen of Oronoco!

We are very excited to introduce our latest vendors in our spotlight series. Long time shoppers at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days and also veteran vendors, this couple always bring a large variety of amazing "junk" to pick from. Take it from me, I bought 2 tables from them last year! Meet Cheryl and Woody of Junk Devotion.

Tell us a little bit about Junk Devotion.
It’s funny, sometimes we don’t even remember when this adventure started! It just sort of evolved over the past 12 plus years. Over the years we have inherited and appreciated various pieces of furniture, photos, dishware, etc. from family members. We then started seeing trash to treasure segments on TV and in magazines and suddenly we were hooked. We started picking up miscellaneous pieces that had been discarded by others and suddenly we had a garage full of goodness waiting for transformation. We love to take formerly loved (or trash to some) pieces and transform them to treasures that can be used in the home and garden. We’re particularly drawn to galvanized and industrial pieces once used on farms, since we both have farming in our backgrounds.

You are a husband and wife team correct? Do you have similar style and taste? Tell us a little bit about that dynamic. 
We are a husband and wife team, Cheryl and Woody Woodward, from Pine Island, MN. There aren’t many teams like us in the junking world, so we feel fortunate to share our love and hobby of junking. Our tastes are similar, but not always the same. We both appreciate a beautiful piece of wood and great metal pieces. Usually Cheryl can be found painting furniture behind the garage; while Woody can be found in front of the garage building rustic pieces of furniture. Occasionally we collaborate to discuss details and color combinations. Sometimes we agree to disagree on how a piece is put

When you are picking how do you decide what to keep and what to sell?
After all this time we get as much joy out of selling a great piece to someone who really appreciates it as we do in keeping it for ourselves. We’ve realized we can’t keep everything, so sometimes we use a piece in our home for a while, then pass it on. That’s the joy in junking, there are always more great pieces out there!

Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
Our inspiration comes from television, magazines, social media and other junkers. The crazy thing with junking is that we can see someone else’s idea and put our own twist on it because many pieces are one of a kind. Sometimes two pieces just magically fit together and we surprise ourselves!

It looks like you've been to a few markets already this season, what seems to be hot right now? What are the trends?
The trends are still the farmhouse look with painted furniture, metals and beautiful woods. Many shoppers are also looking for raw junk to accessorize their decorating.

How many years have you been setting up in Oronoco? What keeps you coming back year after year?
This will be our eighth year at DOGR. We were shoppers there for 20+ years and it’s fun to be on the selling side of it now. The conversations we have with shoppers are priceless! Sometimes we teach people the origin of a piece of junk and other times we learn from the shoppers. Every year we renew old friendships and create new ones. It’s all about the connections and it’s a whole other family for us.

Do you have any favorite food vendors that you look forward to visiting at DOGR each year?
We usually bring our own food so we don’t spend all our profits, but we do treat ourselves to the homemade ice cream sandwiches every day!

What can we look forward to seeing in your booth at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days this year? 
We will have a huge load of farm galvanized junk to decorate the home and garden. We’ll also have plenty of “raw” junk for anyone who wants to do some creating of their own.

We are so excited to have you back in August. Until then, where can we find you and your work?
We have the Rescued Relics Pop-Up Sale scheduled for July 27 at the LTS Brewing Company in Rochester. We’ll join forces with two other vendors for this one day sale, complete with beer tasting and food trucks.

Make sure to stop by and say "HI" to Cheryl and Woody during Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days August 16-18! In the meantime, learn more about them and their work by visiting their facebook page

Antiquing is often a family business and the vendors featured in our latest spotlight are no exception. Meet Cathy and Frank Dosdall. Cathy's mother and father started the family tradition of coming to Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days with their goods many years ago. They are some of our longest running vendors and we are happy to have them back year after year!

Your family has been a long time vendor with DOGR. Tell us a little bit about how that all started. My mom Marry Britt and dad Gene started coming many years ago soon after your event started. They were antique dealers known as Mary Britts Antiques.

 What keeps you coming back to DOGR each year to sell your goods?The tradition of being there for almost 40 years and it is a well run event.

Tell us a little bit about what we will find in your booth. Vintage and collectable items, repurposed stuff and Frank's refinished antique furniture.

Do you have favorite places to hunt for treasures to bring to DOGR?Perhaps a garage sale or auction for furniture to repurpose or paint.

Since you are a seasoned DOGR vendor, what advice do you have for new DOGR vendors? Enjoy the weekend and the good food. Meet your vendor "neighbors". It is fun to see the same people if you come back the next year. It's always fun to see the same shoppers come back to your booth year after year looking for new items.

Do you have any tips or tricks you can give to shoppers who are new to flea market shopping? Make reasonable offers. Most vendors are willing to negotiate. If something isn't priced, make an offer!

What is your favorite food to indulge in during DOGR? The Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches.

We cannot wait to have you back in August! Until then, where can we find your goods? This is the only in-person event we do. Selling online or local sales sites is all we do the rest of the year.

Make sure to stop by and say "hi" to Cathy and Frank at our show in August. Their booth will be located just south of the Post Office and filled with all sorts of treasures!