4th Time at Bat at the JUNK RANCH!

(Thank you all so much for the sweet e-mails and comments about the last post. I feel so fortunate to have made so many caring connections through this blog. The fact that you took the time to write to me and share your experiences means the world to me. XXOO to you all. )

It’s so hard for me to believe that this is only my fourth time participating in the Junk Ranch — it already seems like I’ve been doing it forever but, more than that, it has grown SO BIG in such a short time. Like, really, really, really big. Amy and Julie had 160 vendors this year and they moved 4000 people through the gates on the first day — I haven’t heard the totals yet on the second day but I feel like we did at least that many people, if not more. In fact, there was a HUGE line that started forming over two hours before the gates opened on the first day. This was the audience Shara and I had as we set up our booths:

That line went waaaaaaaaay down the field and you can see that it’s actually a double line. And it was hot, so hot, and those folks were standing out there without any shade to speak of. What a way to start the show!

We were in our usual configuration — the only change was a new gal on the other side of Shara. Otherwise, we had the same lovely ladies on the other side of us and the same folks behind us. I told our neighbors to the right of us that I hope they keep coming — I feel like we have our own little neighborhood now and we’re all nice to each other at load in and load out, which is key.

This year, I did not bring much at all, which I was later to regret when I realized we were going to have record attendance. With everything that had been happening in April and May I barely had enough vintage goodies to fill the booth at Daisies and Olives (not to mention that Shara and I expanded at Fayetteville’s Funky Yard Sale — more on that later) and I wanted to make sure I filled the D and O booth to the brim so I didn’t let the store down. So I decided to focus on prints and signs, almost exclusively. I had a few vintage odds and ends but the vast majority of things I brought were prints and signs, so it was a teensy little booth for me this year.

Funny story about these swans: they are the real deal — vintage concrete lawn ornaments that weigh about nine million pounds apiece. I wasn’t sure I wanted to sell them but I couldn’t find a place to put them and I was pretty sure the demise of the Hens-and-Chickens (that came with them) was imminent because I kill every succulent I’ve ever had and I didn’t want to feel the guilt and failure that would bring on. So I hauled one out to the car and thought YEP THEY’RE GETTING SOLD because it almost killed me to get them to the car and there was NO WAY I was moving them again. My friend Carrie stopped by before the show started and asked me how much I was going to ask for them — I told her I was thinking $35 apiece or $60 for the pair and she said FIRST OF ALL, don’t ever sell things as a pair, you lose money that way, and SECONDLY, mark EACH of them $60 APIECE. I was like NO WAY and she was all WAY so I marked them $58 a piece and they both sold on the first day. And that’s the story of how my sweet friend Carrie made me $40 more than I would have, left to my own devices.

Shara just GAVE me that keen blue rack upon which I can fit meeeeeelions of prints. Well, at least ten, anyway. It is my new favorite thing.

BOOOOORRRRRRING. You’ve seen it all before. Not a whole lot of flash and pizzazz this year but, given the circumstances, I just felt lucky to have made it there at all.

Let’s take a look at some of my (much) more creative pals. Starting with my partner in crime, Shara.

Y’all, Shara turns up the heat a little bit more every time we do this thing.

Shara’s necklace bins were like candy for all the little girls who came by her booth. They would pore over all of the choices for ten minutes at a time, finally choose one, and proudly bring it up to Shara to pay. So cute to think about all the little ten-year-old girls walking around the Junk Ranch grounds with Shara’s necklaces on.

Shara’s Pinwheels = CUTEST THING EVER.

Dear Vintage Children’s Clipboards:

If you felt like someone’s eyes were on you during the two days of the Junk Ranch, it is because I couldn’t tear my gaze away from you. I tried and tried to come up with a reason to buy one or two or fifteen of you but I couldn’t justify it.

Until next time,

I remain,

your loving fan,

Lara

Shara’s booth looks so ever-lovin’ AWESOME because she spends weeks prior to the show working and then spends two day setting up. With the help of her able assistant, The Bean, of course. This year, The Bean once again came to my rescue and both put UP my tent and took DOWN my tent because he is AMAZING. My Mom was supposed to come down on Friday so I could go set things up but she had a health issue and didn’t make it until late Friday — so I hauled two four-year-olds out with me on Friday morning to unload the car. Had The Bean not put my tent up I don’t know WHAT would have happened.

Here’s a shot of the barn, it all of its glory.

That’s my friend Kim’s booth under the green tent there — she is pregnant and came out for two days in the heat, hauling and selling junk and doing a FANTASTIC job. I did that once — I was five months pregnant with the twins when I did my second Vintage Bazaar in Chicago. It is NOT FUN. I couldn’t have even thought about doing it if I didn’t have so much help from Justin and my sweet friend Shannon. Which is all to say KIM, you are a superstar for pulling it off. Here’s another shot of the front of her super-cute booth.

See the cute vintage truck with succulents in it in the lower right hand corner? She had several of those. SO CUTE.

This is my friend Laurie’s booth. Shara and I met Laurie at the very first Junk Ranch so this is kind of our anniversary, Laurie!

As you can see, like Shara, Laurie is a genius at stacking a bunch of stuff on top of each other and making it look like art.

Laurie was partnering with her friend James, who sold out of his beyond-keen VW van.

In addition to James’ van, there were people selling out of several vintage trailers, like this one. They actually sold this trailer at the sale! The inside was adorable.

Who WOULDN’T want to buy this after you see it displayed so perfectly?

It was SOME experience. I’ve never sold at a show that had so many vendors and so many shoppers (even in Chicago). It was something else. It was really hot the first day, but it made it a little better when we got see Shara’s sweet friend Laura from Kansas City, and it was a little cooler the second day — and we experienced two episodes of thunder-showers that were a bit frightening. Shara, because she is so brilliant, has sides on her tent, so she just zipped herself and her stuff up in it and waited for the storm to pass. I threw everything under the table and sacrificed the quilt on top of it (it washed up just fine) to try and keep everything dry — and hoped for the best. What else can you do? It’s nature. Ain’t nobody can control nature. But after the rain, the sun came right back out, shoppers came out from under the tent, a cool breeze blew through the grounds, and the sweet wet smell of clover wafted over us…and the day progressed swimmingly. I just can’t believe what Amy and Julie have created — the economic boon to a town as small as Prairie Grove is a Godsend! Daisies and Olives had record sales and I’ll bet many of the other antique stores, gas stations, and restaurants in the area did as well. It’s one thing to create something that turns out to be a great business decision for yourself, but to create something that benefits a whole community? What an accomplishment for them. It will be so fun to see how this event changes and grows over the next couple of years.

I took the week off this last week: I didn’t do a dadgum thing for either booth. Just lolled about and gained weight. Gotta get back to the drawing board this week!

June 21, 2015 - 9:02 pm

Shara I still can’t believe I was able to do anything with ALL THOSE PEOPLE staring us down. I hate knowing anyone is looking at me – let alone 4,000 people that lined up and filed past us. Ugh. Now I am all paranoid. Your things are always cute and sweet and you always sell a ton! I was proud of myself this time – I think I have it figured out better for next time. (FINGERS CROSSED) I am going to UP the cute quotient and take a few high ticket items and not so much randomness. Well, a certain amount of randomness, but you know what I mean. It is fun being with you those two days. I love it when people get something from my booth and then wander toy ours and then come pay together. They can tell we are buddies. yay. Buddies! **What are we going to do with our orange ball pitchers??????

June 22, 2015 - 11:50 am

Laurie I did NOT feel like my booth was up to par, but thank you for saying it was. 🙂 Also, Carrie was right, your prints are AMAZEBALLS, and I love you. We should have had cake to celebrate – the years have FLOWN!!!

June 22, 2015 - 12:15 pm

Shara Also, I forgot to ask. Is that blue cart for sale???????

June 23, 2015 - 8:40 am

Erica This looks like such an amazing show! I am totally going to add it to my bucket list. It reminds me a bit of the Farm Chicks show. So much good junk!

Erica

June 23, 2015 - 10:29 pm

Marci Love all the pics from Junk Ranch! I sooo missed being there, but with everyhing going on there was no way I could make it. Your pictures are gorgeous and I love your booth. A booth full of your prints is a pretty fantastic booth in my opinion!

June 28, 2015 - 10:28 pm

Kathy Epley Thanks for sharing about Junk Ranch!! Looks like such a blast! Our community hosted the Gentlemen Of The Road tour, headlined by Mumford and Sons, and quite a bunch of bands performing near our college campus and also downtown, last weekend. I do not know the final count on attendance, but they were thinking maybe 20,000 plus(coming into a community of 10,000), and the town went all out with British flags, store front windows painted, etc. We had some rain, also, during part of the weekend, but when you plan an outside event, you just deal with it. For the Junk Ranch event: one comment about the flag on the side of the barn….when it is hung vertically instead of horizontally, the union (blue with white stars) is on the top left…it almost seems like you are looking at the back of the flag, but this is the correct way to display it. Thanks again for sharing about JR!! Wish I could have been there!!

July 11, 2015 - 10:36 pm

Lara Jo WOW that sounds like quite an exciting event your town had, Kathy! And very interesting about the flag — I will pass that on to the JR owners for next time. I find all the rules and regs about the flying of the flag so fascinating and we’ve forgotten so many of them — kind of shameful! Hope all is well with you!

July 11, 2015 - 10:42 pm

Lara Jo Marci, we missed you! Thanks for your sweet comments. Think we’ll see you in October, maybe?

July 11, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Lara Jo Erica, it really is a world-class show. SO MANY vendors and what I love most is that there are all different price points as well — rusty junk all the way up to nice antiques. Shara and I sure would love to meet you in person!!!

July 11, 2015 - 10:48 pm

Lara Jo Laurie, we totally should have had CHAMPAGNE! I know, time is a-flying.

January 3, 2016 - 4:52 pm

Phyllis Stubenfoll First time I heard of this really would like the dates for 2016?
HOW would I find you from Bull Shoals, Ar?
Have no idea where you are.
Are you on the order of War Eagle?
My husband is handy caped and has a cane would it be to hard for him to walk very far?
Phyllis

January 7, 2016 - 11:31 am

Lara Jo Hi, Phyllis! The next event is June 10th and 11th in Prairie Grove. Looks like you are over in the direction of Mountain Home? Prairie Grove is 15 minutes west of Fayetteville. I google-mapped it and it looks like you could get here largely using 412 (you would go through Harrison) and it would take around 2.5 hours. That’s a long drive, but if you’re a flea market fan, I think you would find it worth it — Prairie Grove has a downtown area with five or six flea markets, so you could make a whole day of it. I would not say we are as large as War Eagle, but last time around there were 125+ vendors and about 7500 shoppers. Your husband may have a difficult time getting around: the ranch is very large, with booths and tents all over the place, so there is a lot of walking and the ground is uneven in some places. BUT there are always places for people to sit down and live music throughout the day, so depending on how patient he is with your shopping, he might be okay. Hope you guys are able to join us! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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