We took an extended weekend and celebrated Father’s Day at the lake home of my youngest daughter, our son-in-law and the grandkids, plus his parents and extended family. With warm weather, fishing, lake cruising, great food and family fun, it was a memorable time with our family, away from the world of antiques and collectibles. With a gathering that large everyone pitches in with food, beverages and tidying up afterwards.
We were the first to leave with the thought of checking out a STMF (a “Small Town Flea Market”), near their lake home. The Shawano Flea Market was a place we had shopped many years before, but is too far north to warrant a special trip when other STMF places are much nearer home.
The Shawano Flea Market is run by Zerko Promotions—the same company that has flea markets at Antigo WI, Grays Lake, IL and other locations in Illinois. Our intention was to find what dealers thought of this market and what the costs were to set up or just shop.
We are aware of many of these smaller flea markets, which usually attract mostly local dealers and customers, who often have used tools, towels and toys as well as local produce, homemade jellies and ordinary dime store figurines. The thrill of the hunt is always finding that one treasure amongst the, well, less than treasures and utilitarian items. We call it our “American Pickers” moment.
I asked the ticket person at the gate for general information on cost for setup, hours of operation and dates. The gatekeeper supplied us with their flyer for future reference. The market had about one hundred dealers attending and there was ample parking at the Shawano Fairgrounds racetrack for a large crowd. We ambled through the sellers’ stalls, finding enough to resell, plus I spent a few moments with each of the sellers while I was paying for our purchases, to ask about their personal experience at this flea market. All agreed that sales were up from the last few years and all seemed pleased with the size of the crowd. This has been our experience at our own shows and markets where we have sold antiques so far this year.
My wife, known affectionately as Wifey, is always hunting for jewelry from sterling silver to plastic Pop-It beads. She collects and reluctantly sells some from time to time. Almost all of her collection would be considered fashion or costume jewelry and she loves to wear and display her finds. That is often her main focus when judging the quality of a flea market.
It’s also our observation that we are seeing younger people at the events we attend. I believe the continuing popularity of television shows such as American Pickers and Pawn Stars, along with the old faithful Antiques Road Show, has increased the awareness of collecting. Collectors Quest is here to help you with your own collecting experience, from finding new places to explore for treasures as I often do in my writings, to displaying your collection for others to see. You may also want to buy a needed collectible or sell items that are no longer wanted from your own treasure trove.
If you’re not in my area of the world, check out your local STFM for wonderful treasures to help satisfy your own collecting appetite.