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!