It’s Vintage Market Days in St. Louis!
Every year my friend Catrina and I head out to this amazing gathering of all things vintage and shabby and chic and old and made-to-look-old. I’ve been to my fair share of these markets in several states, the biggest being Lucketts in Virginia, but let me say the 2017 St. Louis Vintage Market Days was the most organized and well planned of all the years’ we’ve attended. Vendors from all over the country set up tents chock-full of things they find, make, and/or remake.
Each year we wander through the market, making sure to inspect every display carefully for treasures we can’t live without. Within minutes I had my heart set on a pretty blue teapot from Elderberry Place, fit with an adorable succulent plant, while Catrina snagged a beautiful sheep-adorned pillow for her new office space.
Most vendors pull out all the stops, building impressive displays in which you want to snuggle up with a cup of tea. A few made me want to say “wrap everything on this side up, I’ll take it. Yes, even the concrete cow.”
Those umbrellas were such a sweet touch! And those carved wooden bowls were everywhere this year.
Some displays were extra giant and incredible. Mix palettes, some burlap, and a pair of wings, and you’ve got yourself some vintage-y goodness on a grand scale.
This was my favorite grouping, I call it the “love” table. Something about a tipped metal bucket and an old suitcase just makes me happy.
The crowd is fairly mixed. Young, old, families, couples, moms with kids (the bravest of attendees), sisters pushing their babies in strollers. Groups of women spending the day together. The later is our style, it’s a way for us to shop and be creative with design all while catching up. I can’t imagine a better girls day!
Especially if it’s followed by a drink. And dinner. And karaoke. I digress…
Since I guess I am a ‘seasoned’ vintage market shopper, this is my fourth year? attending, I feel I should share a few tips:
- Take a cart or wagon. No seriously. We’ve gone so many years in a row and still haven’t wised up to this smart-shopper tactic. Next year, we won’t be killing our arms with heavy bags.
- If you don’t have a cart, ask vendors you shop with to keep your stuff for you. I found something heavy right inside the front gate and didn’t want to walk around with it for hours. The vendor was happy to take my money and keep my treasure safe while I shopped.
- Give yourself time! There’s a lot to see. Go with a plan of attack, walk down one side of the aisle, up the other. Walk into each booth for close inspection.
- Empty your car of car seats, strollers, any large boxes or things you may be carting around with you. If you find something large, you need to be able to take it home!
- Don’t worry about snacks, there are several food trucks with food and drinks ready and waiting. Mini donuts? Don’t mind if I do!
- Make a deal! It never hurts to give bargaining a shot, especially if you are buying multiple items from the same vendor.
- Wear layers and comfortable shoes. This year I went equipped with a hat after being blasted by the hot sun last year. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hair ties, hats…it can be treacherous shopping for cute stuff. An umbrella isn’t a bad idea either, the rain likes to make an appearance at these events just to mess with the vendors who have spent hours making their displays gorgeous.
Speaking of diverse crowd, how could any vintage fair be complete without a pet pig meandering through the shoppers? This is Opal, who was causing quite a stir with her polished hooves and adorable waggie tail.
I found the hardest things to resist buying were plants. There are plants EVERYWHERE at this market, coming out of every sort of vessel. My very black thumb keeps my urges a bay for the most part, but one or two (the teapot!) made their way in my shopping bag. The Wandering Sidecar had some lovely plants for sale from their sweet little horse trailer turned mobile bar. If only they’d been serving drinks…
I found my true treasure goal in the form of a large, rusty, metal milk pail courtesy of the ladies from the Rusted Pearls —they had some of my most favorite displays.
Another Vintage Market Days is behind us, but it can safely be said that the production gets better every single year. It was hard not to make another trip for more shopping!
Follow VMD on Facebook to stay tuned for their next event! Make a day of it, just clean out your car first.
We’ve been so busy that last few weeks with vacation and work and volunteering and birthday parties that last weekend’s empty schedule was a welcome respite. The rain clouds parted, enticing us to plant and mow and prune…it was like the brown and grey of the yard, with which we’ve been avoiding eye-contact for five or so months, just melted away to reveal the tiny haven we call our outdoor living room. The porch was scrubbed, plants were potted, and we made a long overdue porch couch upgrade.
The best part of good weather is I can’t get the kids in the house for anything but sleep and meals (and barely at that!), they just want to collect bugs and climb trees, the later is something in which Ethan has suddenly taken great interest. Good thing our neighbors are rarely outside because he’s usually there, looking over the fence from the nearest dogwood.
Sunday morning was devoted to the MOBOT children’s garden opening, something we’ve patiently awaited during our frequent winter visits. The tulips were just getting ready to open and be their most brilliant selves, it was almost impossible not to touch them, grab armfuls to take home. Finn’s grabby hands had to be kept at bay, which was accomplished by telling him to use his nose instead.
I even attempted our yearly brother-hug-tulip photo…
But hey look who made it into a picture!! Me! And it’s a great one!
I usually end up going home with a hundred pictures and not one with me in it, but Stu commandeered the camera to make sure this day included my face. And those are some big smiles from the boys, especially due to the fact we’d been tulip gazing and had yet to make it to the children’s garden. They were antsy. But agreeable.
The boys tore through the children’s garden gates like they were returning home from a long journey, straight down the wood plank bridge to the little boats where Stu intervened and urged them along with the promise of face painting—if you’ve been here you know a day can be dimmed by a dip in the boat lock, especially if it’s not warm enough for water play.
Finn braved his first solo trip across the rope bridge. I think his shirt says it all.
We were there right at opening time with the place almost to ourselves, so the face painters were ready and waiting. Ethan opted for a snake with Finn watching with great interest. Never thinking he’d actually sit still for this, I promised the nice lady that we had no expectations, anything that happened would be fine.
But with big brother’s help, Finn sat still and got his matching ink, complete with sparkles.
He was SO proud.
Sure they fight (constantly), but it’s time like these I can see they get a lot from each other. Ethan is proud when Finn shares interests and emulates his big bro. Finn worships every move Ethan makes and is thrilled when his brother allows him to join in.
Today they were two peas in a pod.
It’s one of the reasons we love visiting the gardens. It’s five minutes from our house and it has something for everyone, plus room to run, climb, jump, get dirty, ride, splash, bang, and sometimes even plant.
We are so so very lucky to have this place. Right here, always showing us something beautiful. Our city is amazing.