Treasure: Outdoor antique festival season kicks off

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News

April showers bring… a lot more than May flowers. For collectors, the arrival of April brings outdoor antique and flea market season, a sign that the long winter is – at last – over. And while dealers and other enthusiasts continue to lament the change in the business since the dawn of the Internet age, few things compare to a sunny Michigan day spent trolling for treasure (if it rains, remember too that Royal Oak has an indoor antiques and collectibles market every Sunday at the farmers market).

We’ve gathered some of our seasonal favorites to help you prepare your spring and summer calendar. HGTV’s Flea Market Flip and other repurposing shows have made scouting outdoor sales a national pastime, so you’re sure to have plenty of company (and competition). Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

April 24, May 29, June 26: Allegan Antique Market. It may be a few hours’ drive, but it’s worth it, with hundreds of vendors of vintage spread out over the Allegan County Fairgrounds (look for the big concrete chicken near the gate and you’ll know you’re in the right place!). The event started in 1978 and has doubled in size since, with more than 400 dealers in every specialty now.

April 30-May 1, June 4-5, July 23-24 and Sept. 24-25, Oct. 1-2:Michigan Antique Festivals. There actually are two locations, the first in Davisburg and the second in Midland. The April 30-May 1 weekend kicks off the season on the grounds of the Springfield Oaks County Park, with two days of fun, including live entertainment, a car show, repurposing demonstrations, and more. Now in its 48th year, the Midland shows are some of the state’s most anticipated, with hundreds of vendors and more. Information for both can be found at

May 7-8, July 9-10 and Sept. 10-11: Utica Antiques Market. One of the closest and most convenient to Metro Detroit, Utica returns to the Knights of Columbus grounds in Shelby Township with hundreds of vendors and a two-day sale.

May 8, July 10, Aug. 14, Oct. 9: Antique & Vintage Flea Market, Centreville. With four dates, you’re sure to be able to fit this into your summer season. Located at the St. Joseph-Grange Fairgrounds, this indoor/outdoor market is in its 11th season.

May 13-15: Thrifter Sisters Flea Market, Fowlerville. I stopped at this newer event for the first time last year and found vintage campers and lots of retro chic. This year they’re adding an event in Marquette on July 16. Glamping (glamourous camping), flip it and flaunt it, and a chance to win prizes if you wear vintage are some of the highlights.

May 14-15 and Oct. 15-16: Ann Arbor Antiques Market. Mid-century, industrial, folk art…Ann Arbor has been one of the area’s go-to indoor/outdoor shows since it started in 1968. While the first event – located at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. – was held last weekend, there are two more tempting dates to look forward to. annarborantiques

June 19, July 17, Aug. 14, Sept. 11, Nov. 13, Dec. 4:Saline Antiques & Vintage Market. Held at the same place as the Ann Arbor show, this show continues the area tradition of monthly markets. Upcycled, recycled, refurbished, primitive… it’s all here, with lots of varying special events thrown in for fun.

July 2-3 and Aug. 6-7:Antiques at the Fairgrounds, Petoskey. Lucky enough to be up north this summer? Don’t miss the two sales held at the Emmet County fairgrounds. Furnish your cottage or bring home something for your place downstate. Some 170 dealers come from across the country, attracted by the area’s beauty and the great site at the fairgrounds not far from downtown and Lake Michigan.