The Kane County Flea Market is one of the oldest flea markets in the country. Since 1967, it's been keeping the bargain hunters of the Mid-West well-stocked in antiques, refurbished furniture, collectibles, and almost everything else you can fit in a truck and stick a price tag on. With over 600 dealers every month, it's the perfect place to grab a bargain. If you want to experience an all-new kind of shopping adventure, here are ten reasons to visit the Kane County Flea Market.
1. It's near some amazing attractions
If you live in St. Charles, you'll already know the town is packed with things to see and do. If you're an out-of-towner planning your first visit to Kane County Flea Market, you'll be pleased to know the market is set within striking distance of some of St.Charles' biggest and best attractions. After you're done loading up on bargains at the market, be sure to check out the Fox River Bike Trail, a 39-mile hiking and biking route that passes through forest preserves, community parks, and dams; the Arcada Theatre, an old-timey venue that does a great line in events and nostalgia; and the shops, restaurants, and theatres of Downtown St. Charles.
2. It's one of the longest-running flea markets in the US
The title of North America's oldest flea market goes to Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market, an outdoor antique flea market that began in the backyard of auctioneer Gordon Reid in 1959 and which today attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. Kane County Flea Market has been around for almost as long. It all started in 1967 when Helen Robinson floated the idea of a flea market to her husband, J.L. He told her she had the "darnedest ideas" but she pushed ahead anyway. Today, the market is still a family affair, with Helen's sons and families now running operations.
3. It's a great way to spend the weekend
If you're stuck for new ideas on how to fill your weekend, the Kane County Flea Market could be just what you're looking for. Although it's not a weekly event, it's a great place to head on the first weekend of every month for a day of family-friendly fun. Saturday opening hours are between 12 pm and 5 pm, and on Sundays, it's open between 7 am and 4 pm.
4. You're guaranteed to find some treasures
If you've ever wondered just how true the phrase "One man's junk is another man's treasure is," the Kane County Flea Market will reveal all. With over 600 dealers selling a huge array of goods, you're almost guaranteed to find something you can't resist taking home with you. It might be that vinyl record you've been hunting for years. It could be a pile of rare sports memorabilia to add to your collection. It could be an antique side table that'll look perfect in the living room. Whatever is it, you'll have just as much fun tracking it down as finding it.
5. You won't leave hungry
If you've been to a flea market before, you'll know that walking up and down the stalls can work up an appetite. Fortunately, you won't have to break away from your shopping to head out for food. The market has an excellent selection of snack stalls and eateries offering everything from hot dogs and fries to regional delicacies. There's also plenty of beverage stands for when you need to cool off with some craft beer or a glass of lemonade.
6. It’s dog friendly
If you can't bear the thought of leaving your pooch at home while you head out for a day of fun, don't worry. Providing your dog's well-behaved and kept on a leash, the Kane County Flea Market is happy for you to bring them along for the ride. Just be mindful that some dealers can get slightly testy about dogs jumping up on their displays, so try to keep them under control as much as possible.
7. It's cheap to get in
The bad news? Kane County Flea Market isn't free. The good news? It's cheap enough not to matter. The price of admittance is a tiny $5. Parking is free (not to mention readily available - no matter how busy the market gets, you'll never have to wait around for a spot), and once you're in, you're promised a full day of shopping and fun. When you factor in how much you're likely to save by picking up your trinkets and furniture here rather than a conventional store, that $5 entrance fee is a steal.
8. You can practice your negotiation skills
Haggling over the price of your shopping at Walmart never goes down well. Haggling over the price of anything you find at a flea market, on the other hand, is practically obligatory. As The Spruce notes, seasoned flea market sellers expect shoppers to haggle. They even build negotiating room into the asking prices on the tags. Negotiating over price can take a bit of getting used to, but never feel shy or embarrassed about asking for a better deal - you can guarantee no one else at the market will give it a second thought.
9. You can make money as well as spend it
If you'd rather come away from the market with more money than you arrived with, it's worth considering becoming a dealer. If you've got an assortment of collectibles, antiques, or homemade trinkets that need a new home, the market is a great way to offload your junk and make some money in the process. The cost of renting a booth is more than reasonable - according to the official website, you can expect to pay $110 for a shed space, $130 for an inside building, and $120 for an outside space.
10. It supports local businesses
As boothbooks.com says, supporting your local community is one of those feel-good things anyone can do. If you want to support your community and have some fun in the process, the Kane County Flea Market is the way to do it. By filling your shopping bag with the treasures you find, you'll be putting money directly into the hands of local businesses. If you're sick of adding more zeros to Jeff Bezos' bank account, forget browsing the virtual marketplace and start browsing the real deal instead.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson