As a treasure hunter and a DIY hobbyist living in Mt. Dora, FL, I look forward to Renninger’s Extravaganza every time. I get excited about items with a history, that have been hidden away, and not reproductions from China.
The Extravaganza, with over 800 vendors from around the country, happens three times a year (2015 is Jan. 16th – 18th, Feb. 20th -22nd and Nov. 20th – 22nd) and has been recognized in leading publications.
Featured in South Living “Top Flea Market Finds at Renningers”.
Here are 5 of what I think are essentials to make an antique and flea market treasure hunt productive & enjoyable adventure.
1. Be comfortable.
Wear comfortable shoes, since you do A LOT of walking. The property is on a slope (yes not all of FL is flat) and be ready to hike a little. There are sandy areas in several sections, so closed toe shoes are HIGHLY suggested.
Dress in layers. The mornings may start a little chilly and will warm heat up.
2. Water & Snacks.
I always like to pack a couple of water bottles, since we are in Florida and no matter the weather you need to stay hydrated.
I do like to pack a couple snacks to eat on the go. There is a variety of food vendors to choose from depending upon your taste.
This is an antique & flea market, which means dirt & rust. I love digging around to find treasures. The above picture is of my favorite vendor and he has a ton of great items and my hands are always filthy when I finish.
The tape measure is so important when trying figure out if a piece will work or not in your home. I can’t tell you how many great deals I missed on some incredible items because I wasn’t sure it was going to fit.
FYI: If you REALLY like something, get it! It most likely will not be there when you come back around. This is not a department store that will “hold items” while you wonder around. Sometimes you have to take a risk.
FULLY Charged Cell Phone (your best tool)
I use my phone to search Pinterest all the time. If I find something really cool and not sure how I would use it, I do a quick search.
I did that with “bed springs” and was excited to see all the creative ideas, so I picked some up. Here is what I created for our Rec room.
In addition, it is good to get an idea of prices. It is so easy to fall in love with an item and then pay way to much for it. Get educated. I use my cell phone to access ebay to get a price idea. Having a baseline helps in negotiating and gives me an idea what the item is selling for in other markets.
Cash is king. It is always a must! There are a few vendors who might take checks, if you are purchasing alot from them. Others vendors are taking credit cards using their digital devises, but they have to pay a fee for that services.
4. Cart or carry bag.
It is always good to have a SMALL cart to carry your treasures. It is best to go height than width, when choosing a cart. Booths are tight most times and the aisles can be crowded, it is just common courtesy. You can find they almost every where for around $20. I got my at Ikea.
***Side note: I am looking at getting the metal tall shopping cart. I could not get some of the medium size items I purchased into the bag. My husband likes the limiting cart, but it was a pain.
I have also brought a large sling bag, but if I know I am on the hunt for bigger items this isn’t going to work so well.
TIP: Business card or 3×5 card. If an items is large or you don’t want to carry it around, most vendors will let you leave it in the back of their booth. I always give them my business card to attach to my stack. With over 800 vendors, I also put the booth number and the vendors phone number on my phone, so I don’t forget where they are located.
5. Have a Plan!
Since there is SO much to explore, it can be very overwhelming. I spend some time searching on Pinterest for the look I want in the house and the elements needed to complete the look. I also search for possible projects. I create a board specific to Renninger’s so it is easy to locate the ideas I have.
Have a great time and good luck!