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Vintage Market Days at Civic Center attracts a crowd

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Feb 17, 2021


Vintage Market Days, an event that was gaining in popularity before the pandemic put the kibosh on both 2020 shows set for the Lee Civic Center, was apparently missed.

Those who like vintage and antique items made up for lost time Friday with thousands attending on opening day which featured a special start time of 9 a.m. for those who bought tickets for all three days.

Even at 10 a.m., people were already leaving with an armful of refinished and refurbished antique items, making Meri Stoute, who owns the show, very happy.

“We have a great crowd, they’re buying, the businesses are doing great. We did some early buying giveaways, with more giveaways this weekend,” Stoute said. “Some want to get out of the house, but others know us by now even though we haven’t been here since 2019. They were looking forward to us coming back.”

Indeed, businesses reported they were doing quite well.

Crystal Clarke, who owns We Inspire, which sells coastal apparel and is based in Sarasota, had many people come in to browse and buy.

“I always loved bathing suits as a kid so one day I decided to go for it,” Clarke said. “This is my first show here, but I do shows between Tampa and Naples, about one or two per weekend. I’m glad events are opening up again.”

Dan and Jennifer Carroll were running the Barnyard Boutique, which sells portraits of animals that Jennifer started making during the pandemic.

“We started driving around Florida and I started taking pictures of cows,” Jennifer said, adding she told her husband that maybe there was something there that could become a concept.

“I started to draw them and called it my Cow-rona project. Cows are like people in that they all look different.”

As for attendees, it was like Christmas for antique lovers. Breezy Davis came all the way from Belle Glade and was impressed by the selection and vendors.

“I’m actually redoing a house, so I’m going a little bit crazy. This is my second time, and I’m disappointed they had to reschedule twice, but it brought a bigger crowd,” Davis said. “I love farmhouse decor, refurbished furniture and I get great ideas to do our whole house in one trip.”

Her mother, Susie McMillan, also bought some decor for the house.

“We love to shop. It’s a great place to shop with great prices,” McMillan said.