Some cities are known for their antiques scene. For instance, the area in Texas where my dad lives is peppered with great vintage shops, large antique malls, consignment stores and antique shows.
Jacksonville’s antiques scene has a lot to offer, but sometimes it’s fun to check out retailers in other towns that really know their stuff.
Renningers in Mt. Dora is one of these worthwhile destinations. About a two-hour drive from Jacksonville, it’s a larger-than-life antiques center, with farmers and flea markets each weekend. It all takes place on a huge 117-acre lot with hundreds of indoor and outdoor retail spaces.
On the third weekend of each month, Renningers hosts a special antiques fair that features more dealers than on the average weekend. Three times a year — in November, January and February — it hosts its antiques extravaganza: three days where more than 1,000 dealers set up shop to sell everything from old tools, furniture and antique dishes and glassware to stained glass, lighting, art, vintage clothes and more. In fact, I think there’s very little you won’t find during the extravaganzas.
I had to see this massive and wonderful sale for myself, so I borrowed my mom’s minivan (just in case!), and my friend Monica and I headed south to see what wonders we could find.
We got there around 2 p.m. (though I’d recommend an earlier arrival). We paid a small fee to get in and then stood and stared at the acres of booths around us, wondering where to start and hoping we would be able to find the car at the end of the day. We covered most of the outdoor booths but didn’t make it to the inside retailers.
The event attracts some serious shoppers; Monica and I were about the only people without a rolling cart. I made two purchases: one piece of stained glass from a friendly Scottish couple (the husband was wearing a kilt!) and some wooden brackets for a project I’ve had in mind.
We’ll probably head back for the next extravaganza in January. To learn about the event, go online to www.Renningers.com.