One of the very first antique shows I ever attended was in Oronoco, MN better known as Gold Rush Days. Oronoco is a town of around 1,400 people just north of Rochester, MN. The whole town comes together to put together three days of antiques, food and fun. People rent out their yards for dealers to set up their booths and for $5 you can get a great parking spot in someone’s backyard. The whole town smells like food with food trucks and the fire departments annual pancake breakfast.
When my husband Matt and I first started dating, I asked him if he ever goes to antique shows and he said that he did but he had never been to Oronoco, he had never even heard of it!!! I made a mental note that we needed to make the trip and go together. Flash forward five years, three moves, two babies and lot of auctions later we still had never made it to a Gold Rush Days.
This year, because he has been working so hard at building our auction business, sometimes working 7 days a week. (Ok, not sometimes, a lot.) I wanted to make Father’s Day and his birthday extra special. Months in advance I wrote in BIG letters to not schedule an auction the weekend of August 18th-20th on the calendar. A couple weeks later, he agreed to do an auction for another auctioneer that Saturday. So, technically he didn’t schedule an auction but this would throw a wrench into my plan. Luckily, I have fantastic friends that understood and were willing to change their plans to watch the kids. I wasn’t quite sure when to mention it to him, so the night of his birthday after presents and cake I asked him if he wanted to go on a date with me and finally go to Gold Rush Days.
The week of the show rolled around and I was getting excited- the food, the antiques and getting to hopefully see a lot of friends that I hadn’t seen in years. One important thing any antiquer must do prior to an outdoor show is check the weather. And the weather for that Friday when we planned to go didn’t look good, but we were determined to forge on. I got out my rubber chore boots that have gotten me through the mud at a few other antique shows, got ‘em cleaned up and put in the car. I packed some other essentials, an umbrella, comfortable shoes and a purse that is big enough to carry what you need but not big enough to knock something over you can’t afford or too big that your shoulder hurts by noon.
The next morning, we got the kids out of bed and put them in the car in their pajamas and headed north. After dropping the kids off, we forged on to Oronoco on US Highway 52. The drive to Oronoco is really pretty. I love driving through all the little towns along the way especially Harmony, Lanesboro and Preston.
When attending an antique show the earlier you arrive the better. We arrived just before 9:00 a.m. and the streets were packed with people. We found a place to park just a short walk to the show. It wasn’t raining but we took our umbrellas just in case. Gold Rush Days has a great mix of vendors and dealers. There really is something for everyone from high end antiques, new merchandise, crafts, direct sales representatives, and rusty junk.
Primitive bathtub with original wooden rim. I couldn’t understand why Matt wouldn’t let me buy this one, maybe because we already have a bathtub in our barn just in case we ever remodel….