I attempted to set up at Wilmot earlier in the spring but each day was drowned out by rain. Finally, a dry day where I had nothing to do!
It has been a couple of years since I was last set up at Wilmot. I tried to make it last year, but again, rain ruined my plans. I have been setting up at this flea market sporadically for years.
I have a long history of setting up at flea markets. My dad used to load up the family station again in 1978, when I was 12, and set me up at the Twin Drive-In Flea Market in Wheeling, Illinois. Those were glorious days when there were more than a dozen vendors selling sports cards along with dozens upon dozens of customers looking for cards. I made a killing as a 12-year-old! As a result, I have always had a love and a passion for flea markets.
The Wilmot Flea Market is the closest thing I have found to the old Twin Flea Market. JR and Chris K. were also set up in Wilmot on Sunday, so there were at least three of us selling cards. I must have run into 10 or so guys I knew from card shows like Scotty P., Keith K., Andy, Donny, Bill, Kevin (nice to meet your wife!), Malcolm, and one guy I met years ago at the Fred Copp shows but I've forgotten his name.
The beauty of the flea market is I can sell much more than cards. I brought out some old kids clothes, toys, books, stuffed animals, some of my wife's old jewelry and other assorted junk.
Scotty P. was the big winner and purchased several boxes of old wax. Thanks Scotty! I brought out a lot of wax because I sold out last time I was set up. No such luck today. My best seller was my kids' stuffed animals. I had dozens of them to start the day and went home with just three or four. They were selling so well that the vendor next to me ran over to ask what was going on. I told him I had no idea. I was only selling them for $1 each because I wanted to get rid of them. I know I paid a lot more than $1 for them, so maybe my cheap price drew people in.
While I do love the flea market, it is a looong day starting Saturday when I was busy pricing stuff and loading the car. I was up at 4 a.m. on Sunday. I almost stayed in bed. It sure was tough to get going!
I made it to Wilmot in about 40 minutes, arriving around 5:40 a.m. There was a small line of vendors ahead of me. I was hoping to get a spot up front or way in the back. I like to be in an area where there are bunches of vendors. The Wilmot layout is weird and many vendors are located off the beaten path. I did not get the front or the back, they gave me the middle, which wasn't so bad. I was close to the concessions and the bathrooms.
The price of space has gone up since my last visit when it was just $25. It costs $35 now. Still a bargain when I consider I was able to put out 9 or 10 tables of stuff.
So I had an old guy that drove a 1950's hotrod set up on my left, a young couple on my right (I loved the dude's mullet), and an old, old guy across from me. On the other side of hotrod guy was a loud guy. There are always loud vendors at the flea market. I do expect it but I still find them annoying. This one loud guy was especially annoying. I could hear every word he said all day long. His voice projected, overtaking my serenity, then rattled around in my head.
I could not help but learn that he worked a catering gig the night before and recovered some cupcakes that were going to be thrown out. He offered everyone who walked by a cupcake. There was something not right about the guy and I would never accept a cupcake or anything from him.
Unfortunately, a steady stream a kids showed up at my tables with cupcakes in hand and had the need to touch my stuff with frosting-laden fingers. In addition, this flea market has as full bar and people came by all day long with beers and cocktails and set them down on my tables. Years ago, I had a guy spill a can of pop on my binders in Orland so I hate when folks place their drinks on my tables. On top of it, most of these folks were snockered. I have to admit that I did consider getting a bloody Mary but I knew it would just dehydrate me in this heat, so I held off.
Anyway, it seemed like hotrod guy did not sell much. Loud guy certainly did not sell much, as I could hear him bitching about it all day long. Mullet guy sold some stuff. Old, old guy did very well.
When old, old guy started to pack up, I followed suit while Mullet, hotrod and loud guy kept trying to sell. I heard loud guy (how could I not?) turn down an offer on something. When the buyer made it down by me, loud guy started talking trash about him. Customer told him to $#@% Off! Loud guy came running and got into his grill. I thought these two idiots were going to throw punches. I started to debate with myself about breaking it up or not. After a heated exchange, the customer walked away and loud guy went back to his tables and got even louder. Ugh!
I could not pack up fast enough. I had had enough of loud guy, though, despite him it was a relatively pleasant day. The weather was perfect. Scotty got me some water. Andy got me some coffee. Keith watched my stuff a few times so I could take bathroom breaks. Thanks guys! So despite loud guy, I did have fun. The weather was absolutely beautiful which may have kept some people away. I thought the crowd was a little thin.
I am pondering heading back to Wilmot in two weeks when I have another free Sunday. Though, I don't think I could deal with loud guy again. I might seek out a different flea market, one that may be a little more peaceful!
I am back at card shows next weekend - a double bill. I am trucking out to Michigan City, Indiana, on Saturday, July 15, and setting up for the first time at the FOP Lodge show. I reserved an extra table for my 86 year-old dad who has all sorts of sports-related junk. It should be fun to hang out with my dad.
Then on Sunday, July 16, I am back at the Orland show after missing the June show. I am looking forward to Orland and hanging out with my pals Will and Joe. I plan on bringing binders to both shows. I am furiously working on my 1964 Topps baseball binder and hope to have it reloaded by Saturday.
The next Oak Creek show is coming up on August 5. My phone has been ringing off the hook. I hope to start returning all the messages soon. Please be patient with me!
Have a great week everybody!