My hoarding nature was rekindled last year when my mom and I traveled to France for our creative escape at Chateau Dumas. Our first day was spent rummaging through “Vide Greniers” flea markets to find linens, clothing and any other curios we might use in our creations that week. I came away with a few extras, but my purchases were limited since I only had a suitcase in which to get things home. I always tell people when talking about the trip, that the Vide Greniers were my favorite part (although the whole trip was pretty much amazing from every aspect).
I came away from that vacation longing for more flea markets. But a lot of the Antique Malls and local shops in my area just didn’t offer the same kind of loot at flea market prices. Lucky for me, at some point last year, a friend told me about “Maxwell Street Days,” a flea market that happens 4 times per summer in Cedarburg, just north of Milwaukee. Since then, I’ve found a few other nearby towns that host them as well.
I’m guessing the history of Maxwell Street Days comes from a local adaptation of the famed Maxwell Street Market in Chicago. I tried to see if other towns outside of the Milwaukee area put on Maxwell Street Days but I didn’t find much. Let me know if you know of other places that have them.
This past Sunday was the last one of the season in Cedarburg and I finally was in town to go. I set my alarm for far too early for a weekend and grabbed a coffee for the 15 minute drive north to Fireman’s Park in Cedarburg. I found a lot of great treasures from the list I had made, along with a few others that I hadn’t thought of. My focus was items that I could potentially use for decorations at my future wedding. I kept to a budget, which is the only reason I didn’t end up with twice the amount of stuff I brought home. It wasn’t exactly like the Vide Greniers but it was close and I found myself wishing for another week in France.
So, whether it’s an actual Maxwell Street Day or another version of a local flea market, here’s a few things to think about before going…
Tips for Treasure Hunting:
1. Make a list :: Think about the items you might want. The options can be pretty overwhelming, so plan ahead to help you focus.
2. Keep an open mind :: Even if you create a list, make sure to stop and look at the loot you might not have thought about.
3. Bring cash :: The majority of the vendors don’t take plastic. Some will take a check, but not everyone. Be sure to bring cash. That way, you also have a budget.
4. Get there early :: Cedarburg’s opened at 7am. I got there at 7:15 and there was already a lineup to get into the parking area. This also gives you time to take a lap and see what’s available as the vendors finish setting up.
5. Shop around :: I found that there was a mix of experience levels in the vendors at MSD. Some vendors just want to get rid of their stash, others are trying to make a buck.
6. Make an offer :: Not everyone will bargain with you, but it doesn’t hurt to try, especially when bundling items.
7. Bring a buddy :: I met up with some friends and shared what I was looking for and vice versa. More eyes help spot things you might not have seen or thought of.
P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos. I was too distracted with all that I saw to take pictures!