Tips for Shopping Renninger’s Extravaganza

In yesterday’s post, I shared 17 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a list of easy and mostly budget friendly gifts to celebrate the day. One of the first ideas on the list was “Take a Trip” with the notion it can be as involved as a romantic getaway for two or as low key as a day trip to a city you haven’t had the chance to explore yet.

If you live in Florida or plan to visit and haven’t had the chance to explore Mount Dora yet, I highly recommend it. It’s perfect for a quick couples getaway, a weekend with your girlfriends or a few days to relax.  There’s not a lot to do there so I wouldn’t recommend it for families but if you want a pretty place to shop, rest or eat good food, it’s worth the drive.  While you’re there, you should also experience the Renninger’s Extravaganza which happens only three times a year. In my opinion, it’s the closest thing to the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Round Top, or Brimfield Antique Market we have in Florida. Here are a few tips for shopping the Renninger’s Extravaganza…

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Nestled just outside of Orlando is the quaint little town of Mount Dora.

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It’s right on Lake Dora and while some parts of the downtown area can seem a bit touristy, it’s definitely worth the drive just to relive Old Florida if just for a few days.

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Spanish Moss drips from the branches of old oak trees,

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you can easily have a picnic lunch by the water or

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enjoy the many great restaurants this tiny town has to offer. We ate at The Goblin Market for my birthday adventure and as always it was so good. It’s one of my favorite places to eat!

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The Renninger’s Extravaganza takes place each January, February and November. This year if you want to take your Valentine on a surprise trip, plan for February 17 – 19. With over 800 outdoor vendors from all over the country set up across 117 acres, it’s a shopper’s dream.

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Here’s a peek at what just a few of the outdoor spaces had to offer…

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It’s everything from chandeliers…

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to salvaged bits…

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lawn ornaments…

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furniture…

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and some vendors bring tubs of vintage linens…

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A lot of the seasoned vendors set up in the same location so you can easily find and shop their booth. This space is near gate 2 and is always a favorite…

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You guys know I have a huge heart for baskets and I was totally bummed this piece was too big to fit in the car!

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So was this one…I know!

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If you’re looking at these pictures thinking you want to shop the look without rifling through the “junk,” Renninger’s also has an indoor antique market filled with vendors that rent booth space year-round. This booth is located near THE best chicken salad at Mandy’s Grub Hub. I couldn’t get the entire space in the picture but there were some gorgeous pieces of ironstone in this space.

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I’m sure it goes without saying the prices indoors are just a bit more expensive than the prices outdoors because these vendors have a monthly overhead that the outdoor vendors who are just there for the weekend do not.

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If you plan to go to the Renninger’s Extravaganza here are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Wear closed toe comfortable shoes and dress appropriately – contrary to popular belief there are actually hills in Florida and the terrain at Renninger’s is not consistent throughout.
  • Bring cash – a few of the vendors in the outdoor fields took credit or debit cards but in my experience you’ll get a better deal if you have cash as opposed to using your card.
  • Pay your entry fee at the gate – You can buy a 3-day pass for around $15 or pay by the day. Friday is usually around $10, Saturday is around $6 and Sunday is around $4. If you’re looking for a variety, shop on Friday. If you’re looking for a good deal, shop on Sunday.
  • Stay hydrated – there are food and drink trucks located in central areas in each field so remember to stay hydrated while you’re out shopping.
  • Comfort station – we always use the facilities inside the antique center or just outside the outdoor market center. That being said, they’re both a trek. If you find yourself in need of a comfort station (read potty) while you’re out shopping the fields there are several portable toilets available. Just a heads up in advance, they’re not free.
  • Bring a tote or rolling cart to help carry your purchases – almost all of the vendors we saw had plastic grocery bags for smaller items (think jewelry or linens) but we found it tough to find a bag for pieces that were bigger than a book. This means, if you plan on buying things like vintage china, ironstone, chippy scales or anything bigger than what will fit in a plastic grocery bag it’s best to bring a tote, cart and a bit of bubble wrap too.
  • Wear a messenger style or cross body bag – Wearing a messenger style or cross body bag will help keep your hands free when shopping and you’ll be less likely to bump over items in a cramped booth too.
  • Bring hand sanitizer – I know there’s a debate going on right now if hand sanitizers actually work or not so I’ll let you do the research and make up your own mind. I like to keep baby wipes and sanitizer in my purse in case I’m picking through a booth where items are especially dirty, rusty or old. Use caution and care at all times when handling items for sale that are especially weathered.
  • Be nice to the vendors – I can’t even tell you guys how hard it is to be a vendor now days. The staging, cleaning, painting furniture, hauling, networking, traveling, shopping for a signature look is SO much work. If you’re wanting a lower price be kind and respectful when you ask for a “best price” quote. Most (but not all) vendors have a 10-20 % wiggle room depending on how much overhead they have or how long they’ve had a specific item. Be friendly and strike up a conversation with them to quickly establish rapport. Visit your favorite vendors each season whenever possible. It makes a big difference in helping them to remember loyal customers and loyal customers usually get a better discount. DO NOT walk through their booth and talk about how you could paint that same piece of furniture for half the price or build it for a quarter of the price they’re asking. Believe me, if it were that easy everyone would be doing it and they are not.

Given I’ve been spending a lot of time decluttering and organizing as of late I was really good and went to Renninger’s with a list. Sometimes this is a fabulous idea and other times, it’s hard to say no to things you want but don’t really need. I’ll share all the things I’ve picked up lately and a few ideas for vintage Valentine gift ideas too. Until then, I’ll see you on Facebook, on Instagram on Pinterest.

Many blessings,

CoCo

Comments

  1. bonnie says

    I’m really glad you wrote this post CoCo. You are right it is a lot harder now than it used to be and thanks for sticking up for all of the vendors. It drives me crazy when someone flippantly comments on a piece I’ve worked hours on because they think they can do it better, cheaper or whatever. I’m sure they don’t mean to be rude but that’s exactly what they’re being.

    • says

      I completely understand how you feel, Bonnie, as you know I’ve been on both sides of this coin. I don’t think they say those things to be mean either but I know hearing comments like those can be very frustrating. I’m excited to see where your vendor dreams take you. I know you work really hard and you’re very good at what you do. Big hugs, CoCo

  2. says

    When we lived in Florida, Renninger’s was our favorite place to shop vintage. This brings back sweet memories of my mom, grandparents and I visiting Mount Dora and this market. Jenn had the luxury of being pushed in a stroller 🙂 Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Now, I need a tissue.

    • says

      ha ha you guys totally need to do a ladies trip to Renningers. I knew you had great memories shopping there. I swear we could channel your mom and rent a U-Haul to take all of our treasures home. They had so many great things. Hugs, CoCo