More shoppers than ever before browsed booths at the Dodge County Fairgrounds on May 23, after restrictions related to COVID-19 were lifted only days prior to the event. The fairgrounds were filled with unique crafts, antiques and products at the first flea market and craft fair of the year. The grounds were also filled with larger, socially-distanced crowds. Coordinators at the Fairgrounds used all necessary precautions, following recommendations made by Dodge County Public Health to keep both shoppers and vendors safe while shopping at this obviously much-anticipate event.

There were close to fifty vendor booths to browse in May. Many of the vendors made their first sales in months, after being forced to close their traveling businesses mid-March, due to COVID-19. Without an online presence or storefront, many of these vendors and crafters have seen few sales this spring. The May 23rd flea market and craft fair was a successful event for most vendors, many nearly running out of product and inventory. Vendors remarked that they were “thankful for the business” in Beaver Dam.

The option to have tables and booths outdoor and the pleasant spring weather, gave vendors the flexibility to draw larger crowds, while maintaining space and safety guidelines. Organizers are hoping for even more vendors at the FREE June 20th event. Interested vendors may now complete a convenient online registration form to secure their space for the upcoming vendor fairs. The affordable rental fee is only $20 per event (plus a $1 online processing fee). Only one direct-sales vendor per company is allowed and questions should be sent via email to [email protected].

Booths will again be arranged both indoors and outdoors for shopping. As a reminder, outdoor spaces and sunlight are considered low risk environments for the virus. Signage will continue to be posted, directing attendees to maintain appropriate social distancing guidelines. Shoppers and vendors are both encouraged to wear face coverings when they are unable to keep a minimum distance of six feet from other attendees.

The popularity of this event provided some “sense of normalcy” and a “mental break” from being at home for close to 1,000 shoppers at the opening event of the year, which spanned six hours. Vendors included direct-sales products, handmade crafts, clothing and jewelry, unique foods, collectibles, toys and tools.

The Dodge County flea market and vendor fair occurs monthly on Saturday mornings from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. The fairgrounds will host the event on June 20, July 18, August 29, September 19 and October 17. The flea market concession stand will continue to support Frosty’s Fosters Animal Rescue, a local organization who helps animals in the community that are in need of a loving, forever home.

As the community enters into new phases of recovery, expect event guidelines, formats and restrictions to change often over the summer months. Attendees are reminded to stay home if they feel ill. To maintain cleanliness, please note that a limited number of restrooms will be available for visitors at the Youth Education Building. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer, which will be available throughout the grounds. An ATM machine is also available near the grandstands.

To stay informed regarding last-minute changes, upcoming events and cancellations, we encourage you to receive the latest notifications via our Facebook page and also subscribe to the Dodge County Fairgrounds newsletter.

by Jamie Adcock author of and