Each year during Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days, we collect non-perishable food items for our local food shelf. The food shelf is an important resource in our community and is open to residents of Olmsted County. Bring your food item to the Information Booth near the Post Office during Gold Rush and receive a small gift.

Volunteers are vital to the food shelf so your participation is most welcome!  This type of volunteering is an easy and fun way to give back to your community.  Please call Rachel Stanton for more information about volunteering or to schedule a time to visit 507-250-0428 or Lance at 507-367-4952.  Food donations are welcome and can be dropped off either at the Food Shelf during open hours, or at Oronoco City Hall. 

The Food Shelf is open the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 5pm to 7pm in the spring, summer and fall. During the winter, the hours change to 4pm to 6pm. The Oronoco Food Shelf is located in the Presbyterian Church at 20 3rd street SW in Oronoco.

Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is an antique show and flea market event filled with goods from different places and times. It can be intimidating for beginner shoppers to navigate the lingo. To help you ease into the weekend, we compiled a list of the most popular words you might hear at our show to help you make the best decisions possible while shopping at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days.

Antique vs. Vintage These are arguably two of the most used words you will hear at our event. So what is the difference between antique and vintage? Antiques are considered to be a piece of furniture, work of art or collectible object that is 100 years old or more. Vintage is similar but is aged at 25 years or older.

Smalls People often use the word "smalls" to describe small vintage or antique home decor items and accessories. Other worse to describe these little items of value are knicknacks, baubles and Tchotchkes.

Collectible Any item that is regarded to have value or interest for collectors is considered to be a collectible. Collectibles are often times worth more money than they were originally sold for.

Primitive To be considered a primitive, an item must be hand made, and utilitarian - think wooden bowls, spoons and such. These items were often made by untrained people. Primitives are generally very old and usually older than 100 years and therefore considered antique.

Folk art Folk art is antique or contemporary art made by hand by craftsmen, not artists. Folk art is similar to primitive but can be It is expressive and often colorful. Hand made picture frames, wooden toys, and cigar boxes are some examples of items considered to be folk art.

Upcycled This is a fairly new term used to describe a form of recycling. Up-cycled tend to be pieces of low value that are changed and become a product of higher quality and thus value. Jack-o-lanterns made from old gas cans are a great example of an upcycled item.

Art Deco A style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco features bold geometric shapes and patterns accented by high shine gold or chrome and the colors navy or black. The movie Great Gatsby is a great example of the art deco style.

Mid Century Mod This type of decor is having major come back thanks to shows such as MadMen. This style from the 50's and 60's is sleek and simple. The furniture often features bright colors, gold metal, laminate tops, narrow or hairpin legs and is usually made out of walnut or teak.

Chinoiserie -This European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian art is often found featured on beautiful pieces of furniture and porcelain. Beautiful vases and screens are often mediums for this type of art.

These are just a few of the words you will hear falling from the lips of our vendors and shoppers during your trip to Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days and we hope you find the knowledge helpful. While we are happy to provide this information we'd be remiss if we didn't tell you that the secret to learning the most about the goods at our show is to ask the vendors. Vendors are a treasure trove of information and are more than happy to share their knowledge with the shoppers! Make sure to stop and ask about that interesting piece that catches your eye during the show. You might just get a little lesson in history and you will definitely walk away with a great story and maybe a new treasure!

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!