Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Elko experience

Three times a year, Elko, MN rolls out the red carpet for all of you people that like rusty things, searching for treasures and people that like to tell stories!  You find things priced from $1 to over $1,000, so there is a little something for everyone at Elko!  This year I decided to take along Brittany, who has never been to Elko before and my daughter Carsten, who HAS been to Elko but it was so traumatic she blocked it from her memory can't remember previously attending.

I should have provided Brittany with an Elko packing list, but I am a horrible tour guide and completely forgot.  If I had it would have been something like this:
A bag to carry small items.
Cash - in small bills for bartering.
A tank top (because it will be hot as hell at some point while you are there.)
A sweatshirt (because it will be freezing at some point while you are there.)
An umbrella and rain boots (because it WILL rain while you are there.)

Don't stop reading! I AM trying to encourage you to visit the Elko Trader's Market!  The Vintage Gypsy's friend Jeff just recently took over managing the market and he did an incredible job this year!  Also, this year was the first year that Marie and Deirdre had a booth at the Trader's Market!  Right there you have two GREAT reasons for planning your visit next Spring!  Don't worry, will remind you when it is almost Elko time again... until then, here is a little peek at the day that the three of us enjoyed at the market.

We arrived with high hopes, it had been raining all morning but the sun started poking out just as we pulled into the parking lot.  My objective for the day was to find the weirdest Salt and Pepper shakers on the property, Brittany was looking for various things to decorate her home and Carsten wanted to make a cat bed out of something weird.

There is A LOT to see as soon as you arrive at Elko, it hits you right in the face about 6 strides past the gate.  Take a deep breath my friends and try not to get distracted by things like this:

Creepy Elephant

There are a lot of special treasures and they might seem like the perfect thing to hide under your sister's pillow to pay her back for that thing she did at your house with all the clowns, but you just have to know when keep your purse zipped and keep on walking.

About 3 minutes into our journey I discovered that it is Carsten's belief that pretty much anything can be turned into a cat bed, like this:

She wasn't very interested in things that I felt like I needed in my life, like this thing that I basically wanted to build a house around so I could use it in my room as shoe display.

And this beauty, that I thought with a little tweaking could have been perfect as a kitchen island or a dining room table.

She would just look at me like I was insane and continue on her quest to find suitable sleeping quarters for our herd of cats.  She especially liked this option because it was already elevated and everyone knows cats like to look down on you.

At this point I was making mental notes to never have Auntie Marie teach Carsten any carpentry skills as I am afraid I would come home to a house full of this stuff suspended from the ceilings with catwalks in-between them.  *crosses fingers Marie skims this blog or she will make it her mission to make that a reality for Carsten and the herd.  

I snagged a cute little fall decoration from this booth, if I only knew how to burn holes in metal (is that welding??) I would be cranking these things out, SO CUTE!  

BRILLIANT IDEA ALERT: Amy Baas!  You need to teach a Ladies Welding class at Community Education!  This COULD be so awesome and by COULD I mean that it's entirely possible I could burn down Prior Lake, but if I didn't, THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES!!  Gasoline can pumpkins for EVERYONE!

Whew.  I got excited there.  

Back to our journey.....  throughout the morning Carsten and I would gradually get ahead of Brittany and need to stop to wait for her, because we walk WAY TOO FAST.  A few times, which is roughly more than one time and enough times to freak me out, Carsten would pick something up and ask me if she could buy it, I would say no, and then five minutes later we would look back and Brittany would be buying it.  Brittany had no idea Carsten had picked the same items, like this camera that Brittany bought.

This guy was a TALKER!

This totally cemented Carsten's belief that she has the gift of spotting valuable items and I should have be investing in all of the Saltine tins and old metal items she picked up.  So, thanks a bunch Brittany!  I think instead I will just tell her Brittany is her real mother.  

At this point the sky started to look a little angry, which was unfortunate because we were nearing my favorite area of the Trader's Market, the food area!  Potato wedges, turkey legs, mini-donuts, kettle corn, tacos and burritos.... oh my!  We only had one row to go until we were going to take a break to eat!  

Then it started raining.  It sprinkled at first and Carsten and I nervously reassured each other that a little rain wouldn't hurt us, while Brittany marched on like rain should be afraid of HER.  Then, while we were inside a tent, the sky opened up.  Fortunately for us, it was a tent with the best Salt and Pepper shakers I had seen all day!!

I wonder if anyone can guess which of those shakers I grabbed up like it was my kidnapped baby?  Anyone?  We were stuck in this tent for a while, along with a bunch of other people who were trying to act like they were really shopping and not just trying to stay dry.... but I WAS REALLY SHOPPING.  At one point I think I had five sets in my hands, which is pretty difficult to hold on to, but I settled for three sets and Brittany bought a set too!

We set out again and managed to hit a few more booths until it started POURING AGAIN.  This time  the three of us were huddled around a vintage Coke umbrella that was shoved haphazardly into a pile of metal.  While the close proximity was good because it was like immersion therapy for Brittany and I because we are uncomfortable with close human contact (ok, maybe that is just me) it wasn't really keeping us dry.  Also, clinging to the metal and crouching to be under the umbrella reminded me of this really bad experience I had once in a yoga class.... but ANYWAY..... we decided to run for the shelter of the food building!  But, we had to run through this!  A lake of mud!

But, like a true natural at junking, Brittany spotted some treasures in the distance and shouted something about better deals in the rain and left us standing alone.  She was crazy adorable in the pouring rain, holding things up for me to give a thumbs up or thumbs down!

She scored herself a really cool vintage window at a great price and that was our grand finale at the Trader's Market.  Carsten is 14 after all, and standing there glaring at me, soaking wet, with mascara running down her face, her white tennis shoes turned brown, her iPhone not in a waterproof case and not in possession of any unique metal crap to turn into a cat cabana..... I knew I had pushed my luck far enough!  

But we will be back again next year,  dressed in layers and with rain boots AND umbrellas!!  We hope you will join us!  The Elko Trader's Market is every year on Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July weekend and Labor Day weekend!  

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