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ANTIQUING WE WILL GO Treasure hunting at the Allegan Antique Market

story by

J. Gabriel Ware & Junfu Han photography by

junfu han

S

ome come to browse, passing by the rows of tables, gazebos and tents, gazing at the antique glasses, jewelry, furniture and knickknacks, and if anything catches their eye, they buy it. Then there are those who come to hunt, scavenging through booths in pursuit of something specific. It could be a vintage vinyl record player, an ancient china dish set or even a postage stamp from 1936. “When we open the gates at 8 a.m., there are usually 300 people already at the gates waiting to get in and a half-a-mile-long line of cars trying to get into the parking lot,” Allegan Antique Market owner Larry Wood says. “We have three entrance gates, and it’s still difficult. If you haven’t been here before, it would blow your mind.” The Allegan Antique Market, a monthly antique and vintage-item sale held at the Allegan County Fairgrounds, gives customers the experience of shopping at 400 vendor spaces filled with a mixed bag of antiques and collectibles. Listed as one of 11 can’t-miss Midwest flea markets by Midwest Living Magazine, the Allegan Antique Market attracts enthusiasts from all over Michigan and from neighboring Midwestern states, Wood says. The market was started in 1978 by Wood and his wife, Lori. who visited antique shows while serving in the military in the Washington, D.C., area. Wanting to bring an antique show to his home area of Grand Rapids, Wood drove thousands of miles across Michigan to find potential sellers, eventually rounding up 190 vendors, he says. He worked as a full-time firefighter for the Grand Rapids Fire Department at the time and ran the antique shows on the side. He began working A shopper looks through vintage and antique jewelry at a vendor’s booth at the Allegan Antique Market.

22 | Encore AUGUST 2015

Encore August 2015  
Encore August 2015  

Southwest Michigan's Magazine -- Treasure hunting at the Allegan Antiques Market, Michigan's "blueways" (water trails), meet Mary Balkema, h...