What Cheer Flea Market

On a cold but sunny October Saturday morning, we stopped by Don and Bonnie’s homestead and picked them up at 7:30 a.m. for a trip to the What Cheer Flea Market, a huge 3-times a year flea market that fills the Keokuk County fairgrounds, both the buildings and around their harness racing track.  Our first stop was parking in a pasture across the road from the grounds – better get there early – and then walking up to one of the buildings to get a hot breakfast served by one of the local organizations.  $5 or less buys you a breakfast of sausage and biscuits or 3 big pancakes or scrambled eggs with 4 slices of bacon or 8 sausage links, all with coffee!  The breakfast line extended out the door but moved quickly to the tables filled with vendors and early shoppers.  On Saturday and Sunday the admission at the gate is $1 for the day.  Some enterprising folks were using their little gas powered baler to make mini-bales of straw for sale.  Click on the photos to get full size pictures.
We then separated and hit the buildings and close to them, where books, linens, every kind of house wares imaginable, coins, toys and all kinds of collectibles are found.  Around the track, are more booths with every kind of junk and treasure – the farm tools, furniture, and other bigger items are usually outside.  Right between the breakfast building and first shopping building, we found Bill and Joyce Osterkamp of Center Junction, Iowa selling beautiful home canned goods, including jams, jellies, salsa, pickles, tomatoes and juice, etc.  I was impressed with her collection of fair prize ribbons and beautiful products.  Inside the building, I had to purchase from JDT Antiques and Collectibles of Albia, Iowa – where they had a nice display of kitchen collectibles in Hoosier cabinets.  Outside these buildings were tables with everything from cast iron to silver on the same table to the booth with creative wind chimes made from nice old silverware attached to a variety of different metal pieces, coffeepots, flower boxes, metal bowls,  egg baskets, aluminum kitchen canisters, etc.  Very creative!
The last stop was at the lone building near our gate, where we found this wonderful display of glassware and china from a couple from Fremont, Iowa, a few miles south of us.  Kath's Kollectibles had this beautiful booth; I have purchased from them before, and both Bonnie and I lusted after a set of etched sherbet dishes neither one of us really had room for at home.  Their display was better than many I have seen at much more expensive antique shows.
Bonnie bought a Farm Journal Country Cookbook (with a whole page of cake recipes made with lard!) in very good shape for $4 and I bought nice etched glass compote, very old-fashioned, probably pre-thirties,  for only $6 and a flamingo pink Pyrex pie plate in perfect condition for $5.  Besides visiting and getting some nice photos, we were satisfied with our purchases too.  The show runs today as well.


  1. I love hitting flea markets! Ya just never know what you can find!

  2. I want to see a picture of the pink pie plate!


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