Informational

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!

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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!

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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.

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On Earth Day 2019, we invite you to do the earth and yourselves a favor by planning to shop second hand at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days, August 16th, 17th, and 18th.

Flea Markets and antique shows are full of second hand items just waiting to be repurposed, reimagined and ultimately recycled. Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is no exception.

Shopping second hand not only helps the Earth; there are also social and personal benefits to visiting your local flea market or thrift store. We've highlighted our favorite reasons why we think you should consider this option when shopping for clothing, home decor, furniture and more.

ENVIRONMENTAL

When you purchase a piece of clothing or furniture second hand, you are playing an important part in reducing the consumption of energy and resources that are necessary in producing new items. You are also giving new life to something that may have otherwise been tossed. Be proud of your second hand items and your positive impact it has on this earth!

SOCIAL

Shopping second hand at a flea market ensures that you will be supporting small and local businesses. This support of local businesses will keep your dollars close to home, multiplying their effect throughout your community. The small but impactful decision to shop second hand can have many positive outcomes on your life, and the lives of your friends and neighbors.

PERSONAL

The most obvious benefit of shopping second hand is that it can be significantly less expensive than buying new.  The not so obvious benefit is that you are able to put your own personal touch on your purchase and it will likely be more unique than anything you could buy new. This is a huge plus when looking to create your own personal style within your home or wardrobe. Originality is a priceless reason to shop second hand!

Red Wing Stoneware
Red Wing Stoneware

JOIN US

Besides all the wonderful reasons mentioned above, Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is just plain old fun! Whether you are looking for that perfect bench to complete your entryway, that one last piece of pottery to finish your collection, or you just want to wander the vendor booths eating a delicious ice cream sandwich, there is something interesting for everyone! We hope you can join us on August 16th, 17th, and 18th!

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Come for the race, stay for the treasure hunting!

Join us for the 2nd annual Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days 5k! Last year's 5k was very well received and we are happy to bring it back in 2019!  This year your registration includes a run through historic Downtown Oronoco and a t-shirt.  We are so excited to once again offer this event during our weekend festivities and hope to see you there!

Race Day Registration and Packet Pick up:  7:00am

5K Start:  8am

Parking is available Downtown Oronoco for a small fee.  Street parking a short walk from Downtown Oronoco is also available.

Register here: https://register.chronotrack.com/r/48399

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