Are you still on the fence about whether or not you should sign up for the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days 5k? Here are a few reasons we think you should hop off that fence and get registered today!

Inclusivity - Anyone can walk or run a 5k! It is a great distance for many people because the time commitment is completely manageable. A total beginner can easily train for this race in 6-8 weeks. There are many great training tools available including free apps that will help guide you along this journey. I recommend Couch to 5K.

Health - There are many health benefits to a regular exercise program. Whether your goal is to run or walk a 5k, you are doing your body and your mind a favor. Running and walking are both excellent ways to improve your cardiovascular health, build muscle and lose weight. Your brain will thank you too because running and walking releases endorphins which increases your mental health and decreases the body's response to stress and pain.

Goals - Life is messy and unpredictable. Setting goals can help us stay focused and accountable. Crossing the finish line of a race will motivate you to set more goals and work to achieve them. You will carry that feeling of accomplishment with you into every other aspect of your life moving forward.

Community - Many 5k races benefit non-profit organizations and the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days 5k is no different. Proceeds from the event will go back into the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days fund which is used to support local organizations such as National Night Out, the Food Shelf, the Senior Citizen Center, the First Responders, the Fire Department and many more.

Fun - The thought of running being fun may be a stretch for some, but I challenge you to look at it that way. You are outside. You are using your body. You are among friends and family. You might choose to dress up. You can listen to some great music. People will be cheering you on. You get an awesome t-shirt and a coupon for some great food!

We hope this helps you decide to join us for the 2nd annual Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days 5k on Sunday, August 18th. Registrations will be accepted through the morning of the event but prices will go up in July so register soon!

Melinda Daubitz has one of my very favorite booths at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days. As you will read below, I have made some pretty awesome purchases from her in the past. We are very happy to feature Melinda and Sparrow Antiques in our latest edition of the Vendor Spotlight!

First off you should know that I LOVE your booth. One year I bought two antique beds from you and I was in the market for exactly zero beds. Dana, we remember that year…lol, you also bought a mailbox that you were going to turn into a library in your yard.  We had so much fun watching you shop.

Tell us all a little bit about yourself, where you are from and what Sparrow Antiques is all about.  Sparrow Antiques is a collection of treasures from the past.  I am originally from the Chicago land area.  I relocated in Eau Claire WI with my 4 children about 18 years ago as a single parent.  I started to collect stuff, mostly broken.  I would repair and repurpose and then have little sales to supplement my income.  My love for collecting never stopped and my hobby became my second career.  We love yesteryear and just buy things that speak out and I think others may enjoy.

How do you go about collecting items to sell? Is there a particular style that you focus on?  We love to shop small towns, estates and auctions. Nothing like a good/full dumpster and a little sidewalk surfing! Our style is ever changing, we watch trends and colors and try to find things that we love and others might.  Many things I have bought, I bought for myself…..LOVED and then sell.  My house is always changing with my mood.

How long have you been coming to DOGR as a vendor and what keeps you coming back?  I have been coming to Oronoco for maybe 15 years,  I am in love with the small town feel. I love that the entire town becomes a mecca for shoppers.  Shoppers who love character, old stuff that tells stories of the past. The food is amazing and the great venders.  We look forward to seeing everyone, every year.  It feels like our little community for the weekend

We all have our favorite foods at DOGR - what are yours?  The food is amazing!  We really love the home-made ice cream sandwiches and the fireman breakfast is a favorite activity.

Do you ever get a chance to shop around DOGR? If so, what is your favorite DOGR purchase?  We don’t have a lot of time for shopping, but we do always seem to find a treasure for ourselves.  May it be an old bear, a handmade quilt from yesteryear or that one of a kind chippy paint piece that must go on the porch 

What kind of advice would you give to a new flea market shopper?  Well, we do like to give a deal! It never hurts to ask if we can do better!  I personally hate when someone rips on a piece, pointing out all its flaws…..for a good deal.  Our things are old and often imperfect that is what we loved about it and wanted to share it with buyers.  Also, I love when buyers want to know the story about a special piece….many things have been bought and someone told us the story, or who may have owned it.  Ask about the story, it makes each piece even more special.

 What can we expect to see at your booth in August? Do you have anything you are saving just for DOGR?  We are on the hunt right now, we have some medium sized chippy furniture.  Kitchen stuff is always popular and the colors are bright.  We are saving some wonderful carnival stuff, like a ferris wheel seat.  We like a few unique pieces to get folks to take a peek.  We usually have a little bit for everyone and our prices are great!

We are so excited to see you again in August. Who knows, maybe I'll leave with another antique bed! Until then, where can we find you?  We are so excited to come.  Truly our favorite place to be in August!!  Our new shop is in Eau Claire Wisconsin…just a hop and a skip away. Sparrow Antiques, 767 2nd Ave in Eau Claire WI is a shared space with Vintage Junkies.  We work many shows, helping each other out!

A follow up about the mailbox mentioned above. I was shopping with my sister when she bought the mailbox from Melinda. She did turn it into a little library for her yard and it is adorable!

We love Gold Rush
We love Gold Rush

Each year in August, the tiny little town of Oronoco, Minnesota is flooded with thousands of shoppers searching for that special something at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days. Throughout the next few months, we will be interviewing shoppers and sharing it with you here! Our first shopper is a great friend and someone who I enjoy running into at DOGR. We share a love of the event and always stop to visit and discuss what the hot items are that year. Meet Maria.

How long have you been shopping at DOGR and how did you hear about it?
I have been shopping at Gold Rush for about 7 years.  I was really into following some shabby chic bloggers and they always talked about flea market style.  When I found out Gold Rush was so close to Rochester, my friend and I decided to check it out.  We had a blast and I've been every year since! When we decided to move to Oronoco, I have to admit, being so close to Gold Rush was definitely a perk!

Do you go to DOGR ready with a list or do you wing it?
I usually have a few things in mind.  However, I like to think that Gold Rush tells me what I'm looking for most of the time!

Once you get to DOGR, tell me a little bit about your shopping strategy.
I like to do a quick walk through first.  I know where my favorite vendors are and I always make sure to visit them first, before I run out of money! After I've made my first sweep, I will go back through and take my time.  I also always go on Friday.  We start mid-morning, have lunch and usually end the day hot and tired with a beer in the Fire Station beer garden!

Do you shop alone or with friends? Why?
I have done both, but I much prefer going with the group of friends that have been coming with me for years! I have friends from the Twin Cities and Wisconsin that come stay with me for the weekend.  We shop all day and we are all looking for different things.  We help each other see the potential in an item and talk each other into our treasures if need be.  I'm probably the most experienced at talking with the vendors and knowing when it's appropriate to negotiate on price.

Can you describe a couple of your favorite DOGR purchases over the years?
There are so many! My all time best find is an authentic church pew that sits in my foyer.  My first big purchase was a pair of beautiful wood locker room benches - I spray painted the metal legs gold and they are gorgeous.  Another favorite is a huge metal and wood arch that sits on my mantel.  My brother in law and I had been shopping all day and I had been looking for a statement piece for over the mantel.  We had given up and were walking back to the car when he spotted it behind a bunch of yard decor! It was such a thrill to take it home - it was perfect.

There are some delicious food vendors every year at DOGR. What are your must haves?
The food is so much fun!  I always have to have the cheese curds and a homemade ice cream sandwich!

Do you have any tips for first time DOGR shoppers?
It can be a little overwhelming at first! I would definitely suggest having a couple things to 'hunt' for, to give you some direction at first.  Check out Pinterest for ideas.  Also, bring lots of denominations of cash.  Some vendors take cc or checks but cash is always the easiest route!

What is on your list for 2019 DOGR?
Hmmmm...I would LOVE to find some mid century modern bedside tables or a dresser.  I keep a list going on my phone and as I think of stuff, I add to it.  I also have a dedicated Pinterest board for Gold Rush.

A big thank you to Maria for taking the time to answer our questions! We look forward to catching up with her at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days in August to find out if she tracks down those Mid Century Modern pieces!

Each year in August, Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is home to hundreds of vendors from all over the country selling their goods. Throughout the next few months, we will be interviewing some of these vendors and featuring them here on our blog. Jennika and Matt were new to Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days last year and come to us from Duluth, MN. We are excited to have them and their beautiful work back in August! Meet the Pink Hammer Shop.

First question I have to ask... why the name Pink Hammer?
When I was looking into starting our handmade business, I thought about a name for a long time. Nothing seemed right until I saw the pink hammer I had in my toolbox and thought, hey - that's it!

Jennika & Matt

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your art. I'm Jennika, co-owner of The Pink Hammer Shop. I've been making things for as long as I can remember. I always had a craft table in my bedroom with many in-progress projects while I was growing up. I have always liked to work with my hands. Art class was my favorite in high school and I continued art classes throughout college. I knew that I never wanted to stop creating. To me, it was fulfilling and so much fun. I started The Pink Hammer Shop in 2015, when I was on spring break from my elementary school job. It started out as taking a few local orders for painted signs and selling a few things on Etsy. My other half, Matt, joined me in 2016 and took over the wood-working portion of our work while I began to focus more on the painting and design work. We began adding mixed media elements into our work, such as vintage book spines and old maps. We like the thought of up-cycling and giving new life to old books and maps that have been sitting around for years!

You were a first time vendor last year at DOGR. What made you decide to try out our show?
We heard about Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days from antique vendor friends of ours. We thought we’d give it a try and we’re sure glad we did!

There are some great food vendors at DOGR. Did you have any favorites?
My favorite food booth at DOGR was the fish and chips one – SO GOOD! I’ll be heading back there this year, for sure. Also, don’t forget to grab a delicious homemade ice cream sandwich (or 2 or 3) while you’re at Gold Rush – I think they’re famous for them!

Did you get a chance to do any shopping last year at Gold Rush? If so, did you have a favorite purchase? Last year at Gold Rush, my favorite purchase was a vintage globe to add to my growing collection!

What advice would you give a first time vendor at DOGR?
To a vendor that is thinking about trying out Gold Rush Days, I would say – yes, absolutely do it! The shoppers are wonderful, as well as the other vendors. The show is well-organized and benefits the community of Oronoco.

We are so excited to have you back at our show this year. What will shoppers find at your booth in August? Have you been working on anything new?
This year at Gold Rush, we plan to bring loads of our book and map signs in all sizes. We love to make themed book signs such as: Adventure/Travel, Outdoors, Art/Craft, History, Gardening, Cooking, Nature, Medical/Nursing, Poetry, English, Math, Science, etc., with coordinating quotes. These make the coolest gifts! We will also have rainbow colored book signs and framed vintage maps from all over the world (some dating back to the 1800’s!). Come visit our booth at DOGR this year, we promise our work is something you’ve never seen before! In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram @thepinkhammershop – and shop our website

A big thank you to Jennika for answering our questions! We look forward to seeing you and your work at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days - and we agree with you - the ice cream sandwiches are a definite must have during our show!

The Farmhouse style is IN and not going anywhere. This is largely thanks to hot celebrity designers like Joanna and Chip Gaines. Sure, you could run to your local Target and check out their merchandise - and you should because it is awesome - but you can also make the look your own by shopping for unique pieces at a flea market such as our beloved Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days.

So, exactly what should you be looking for in Farmhouse decor at a flea market? Here are the items that make our list and are in abundance at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days.

  • Chippy furniture
  • Hand-scraped wooden tool boxes or bowls
  • Ironstone crocks
  • Enameled bowls
  • Egg baskets
  • Milk glass
  • Reclaimed barn wood
  • Ladders

Join us the 3rd weekend in August as the tiny river town of Oronoco happily overflows with vendors and shoppers during one of the most anticipated antique and flea market events of the year. You are sure to leave Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days with fabulous pieces that express your personal farmhouse style.