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The Junk Parlor

Midwest Flea Markets You Have To Visit

It has been a busy start to flea market season! Today I’m sharing with you midwest flea markets you have to visit!

Iowa | Illinois | Wisconsin

What Cheer Flea Market

The What Cheer flea market is held in What Cheer, Iowa the first weekend in May, August and October. It is located on the Keokuk County Fair Grounds so you will find shopping both inside and outside. This event goes on rain or shine! There have been years people pulled out a canoe to ride there was so much rain!!

This flea market does allow golf carts and has them available for rent on site. You cannot however ride an ATV or Side by Side of any kind. This is a large flea market so I definitely suggest taking a wagon or cart to haul your items. You can always ask a vendor you have purchased from if you can leave your purchases with them to pick up later. Vehicles are allowed to come into the fairgrounds to pick up items at ANY time of the day!

If you are new to attending flea markets and would like some more tips, check THIS out.

Something I don’t think is very well advertised is that What Cheer Flea Market does have an early bird day. Thursday of the show is considered early bird and the entry tickets cost $6. There are even dealers (and possibly the regular public) that go and show on Tuesday and Wednesday too! The regular show is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday are $4. Over the years, more and more dealers leave on or before Sunday and for that reason admission is free.

Remember that if you go early or wait until the last day that the number of vendors sat up will vary!! And while it is suggested for vendors to be sat up from 7 am to 5 pm (actual times vary depending on the day) this is just a suggestion and vendors come and go as they want.

You will also have to pay for parking which is typically $5. There are multiple fields where they park people as well as homeowners who park cars in their own yards.

Being prepared (tips HERE) is essential. There are lots of food options, but they get busy and can be pricey. They are also open at different times each day. I suggest if you go for early bird that you pack food and water as food options are especially limited that day!

They do have an ATM on site. Remember people prefer cash!!!


May 2024 What Cheer


Pec Thing

Every time I talk about Pec Thing, I think people are confused. So let me say this… Pec Thing Flea Market. This flea market, called Pec Thing, is located in Pecatonica, Illinois at the Winnebago Fair Ground. It is held twice a year in May and September. The nice thing about the May event is that it is the same weekend as the next flea market I’m sharing. That means I can hit two flea markets on the same trip! In September however they do not fall on the same weekend.

The Pec Thing is very comparable to the What Cheer Flea Market. Their website says they have over 500 vendors at the flea. This flea market doesn’t have as many buildings serving food, but they have a TON of food trucks! You could just spend the day eating and drinking!! And most of these food trucks are serving food for early shoppers!

Again, something that I don’t think is advertised very well is that they do allow early shopping. Admission is $20. Dealers arrive and line up, waiting to be let in around 9 or 10 am. When vendors go in then customers can head in too! There are not very many early bird shoppers at this event, more so are just other dealers choosing to shop the competition instead of setting up their own booths. A lot of vendors will bring a load in, cover it up and leave. So while on Saturday the venue is probably full, Friday can be hit and miss.

No matter what day you go, parking is free!! You are also allowed to drive in at anytime to pick up purchases. ATM’s and actual restrooms are available!

I have only ever attended this flea market on a Friday for early bird, so I can’t speak to what it is like the rest of the weekend. This flea market is held rain or shine and has vendors both inside and out.


Come With Me To Pec Thing


Elkhorn Flea Market

The Elkhorn Flea Market is a little different than the others mentioned because it is essentially a ONE DAY event! This flea market is held four times a year in May, June, August and September at the Walworth County Fairgrounds. This one day show has more than 500 vendors!

Another show that doesn’t promote their early bird shopping! So, while it is a one day show held 7 am to 3 pm on Sunday, you can also shop early! Early bird admission is $25. Just like at Pec Thing, this allows you to enter the fair grounds at the same time as the vendors. So at 1 pm on Saturday the gates open for everyone!!

I used to be the person who refused to pay early bird admission. If there is one show where you want to pay the early bird fee, this is it!! It is such a more relaxing shopping experience! It’s still busy because dealers are driving in and getting unloaded and sat up. There are a lot of people who pay that extra fee to get in and shop! But the amount of traffic is nothing compared to how many shoppers there are on Sunday!

It’s also important to note that your early bird ticket also gets you into the flea market early on Sunday! The regular shoppers are let in the gates at 7 am, but at 5 am there’s already a lot of commotion! I can get a couple hours of shopping in before the masses!

It’s important to note that you cannot go in and pick up items Sunday until around 3 pm or whenever the crowd dies down and those in charge give the all clear. For me that often means that I will take multiple trips to the truck so that I can leave when I want since I have a 6 hour car ride to get home! They do have large flatbed carts that they let you use complimentary.

There aren’t as many food vendors at this flea, but the parking is free!!


Elkhorn Flea Market


Road Trip

If you love vintage and antiques, then I insist you put all of these flea markets on your must shop list of flea markets!! These flea market tips are important to enjoying your shopping experience! If you have been to any of these flea markets, please share your experience below! And if you think I’m missing some must see flea markets in the midwest, please let me know that too!

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Midwest flea markets you must visit

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