Kane County Flea Market

Some people think that a flea market is just a giant garage sale.  Some think it is just full of antiques.  Those were my thoughts as well.  Then I spent the day at one and found so much more to discover.

The Kane County Flea Market has been up and running for 51 years.  It was started by a woman named Helen Robinson and is still run by her sons today.  Held on the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, the market hosts hundreds of vendors.  We spent a good 3 hours discovering the various treasures available.  The flea market operates one weekend per month, starting in March and ending in December.  These sellers are set up inside and outside, so check the weather and plan your outfit accordingly.  Parking is free, but the cost to enter is $5.00/person.

Going back to the “garage sale” thought process, there is the old saying “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.  Quite a few vendors had, what looked like, estate sale collections.  Plates, glass bowls, etc. Tchotchke heaven for some people.  I can’t tell you how many pieces we saw that reminded us of our parent’s and grandparent’s homes.  This is a great place to shop if you are looking for vintage pieces to mix in with your modern aesthetic.  Or, maybe the vintage look is your whole aesthetic.  Either way, the pickings are not slim here.

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One object that seems to be having a renaissance right now, is the record player.  Twenty-somethings today are asking for turntables for Christmas and birthdays.  We have a few friends who like to host Vinyl Nights as well.  Quite a few vendors had albums mixed in with their treasures.  If you have the time and patience to go through them, you will probably find something to add to your personal collection.

Albums

Furniture is a popular item at the market as well.  Some pieces are new, some are refurbished.  Some are untouched antiques.  Maybe you have been looking for that special piece to finish that bedroom or dining room you are remodeling.  Or maybe you have always wanted to try to refinish a dresser yourself.  You will surely find a good deal here.  Some of the furniture sellers were also willing to custom build pieces as well.

Furniture

The Flea Market is also a good place to go to for collectibles.  Old and new.  For the old, there were a handful of vendors who were selling Hot Wheels cars.  I couldn’t tell if they were actual collector’s items but they were still in the original packaging.  Same with the Barbies.  They looked like older versions, but I am not an expert.  I am sure there were more, but those were the two that caught my eye.

Cars and Barbies

For the new, there were sports memorabilia vendors, beer steins, rooster statues, and more.  What is with the rooster by the way?  Is this still a part of kitchen décor?  Because I see this creature everywhere.

Collectibles

Vendors selling new, craftier, items were scattered throughout the grounds as well.  If you like jewelry, holy cow is this the place for you.  So many sellers.  So many beautiful pieces.  Clothing, scarves, and purses were available.  As was the largest selection of “bags” for all of your picnic gaming needs.

New items

I know this adventure is not for everyone, and I was skeptical going into it as well, but, if you have a Saturday or Sunday afternoon free, this was a relaxing way to spend some time with your SO.  Beautiful weather, lots of exercise, lots of treasures to explore.

Big tip:  Bring cash.  Some vendors do not have the ability to process credit cards.  And haggling is a thing.  Not my thing, but if it is your thing, you can definitely hone your skills here.

On The Road: Chicago Cubs – Spring Training (Mesa, Arizona)

See my original article about the Cubs here

I had the opportunity to tag along on a business trip with my SO down to Phoenix, and I jumped at the chance just to get out of Chicago and the winter that won’t end.  He only had to be down there for two days but we extended it for some personal R & R.

One of the biggest draws for getting down there a few days early was that baseball’s Spring Training games were still being played.  These are exhibition games that are played before the start of the regular season. The teams, during this pre-season play, are not divided into the standard American and National league.  Instead, we have the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League.  The Cactus League is based in Arizona.  The Grapefruit League is based in Florida.

While the Chicago Cubs and White Sox both play in the Cactus league, our team of choice is the Cubs.  The North Siders primarily play out of Sloan Park, which is located in Mesa, Arizona.  The stadium is fairly new, built in 2014, and was designed to resemble Wrigley Field.  It was originally named Cubs Park but, in 2015, Sloan Valve Company signed a “naming rights” deal to the ballpark.  Sloan Park is the largest spring-training facility, with a capacity of 15,000.  This does not include the lawn because when we were there, the attendance that day was 16,100.  Tickets need to be purchased pretty far in advance.  We were attending games in late March and, when we tried to purchase seats in mid-February, the only thing available were lawn seats.  Still, a great view.

 

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Getting there is easy and parking is even easier.  They have one big, gigantic lot and it is only $5.00 to park.  Depending on how late you get there, you might have a decent walk to get into the stadium, but they have cycle rides available if you are not feeling the hike.  Not sure what they charge though.

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Inside the park, everything you need to enjoy a game is available.  Food, drink, team store shopping, etc.  If you are sitting on the lawn, bring a blanket.  We forgot to pack one and had to find something at the last minute.  The only other thing you can bring into the stadium is unopened water bottles.

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We enjoyed this trip more than we expected and cannot wait to go back again next year.  I’m sure the 80+ degree temperatures helped.

Not from Chicago?  Click here to find out where your team plays their Spring Training games.