We got to the swap meet early, not sure how long the line would be for vendors. The gate opened at 5:30am for vendors to line up, but we did not have access to the fair grounds themselves yet. With only about six vehicles ahead of us we were sure to get a good spot. We had never been to a swap meet in this area before and were not sure what to expect. While we waited for the gates to open we got out and chatted with a few of the other vendors. The fellow in front of us was a regular. He lived close by and came out to the meets in the area. He had a trailer of trials bikes with him, and several more back home.
The gates opened at 6am as promised. We paid and were told we could park our rig anywhere we liked. There was plenty of grass to choose from. Having never been there before, we chose a nice spot next to the fellow with the trials bikes. He was friendly, and the spot was next to the road, offering an easy way out of the fair grounds when we were ready to go. In hind sight, a spot under a tree may have suited our needs better, as temperatures rose way past tolerable and shade was scarse where we were located. Our swap meet neighbours were lined up against the side of our RV at one point, standing in a sliver of shade just trying to keep a bit cooler.
The swap meet itself had a lot of vendors, and a steady stream of customers. But we were told it was nothing compared to the meet they have in the spring. Apparently, that is the one to be at. This meet was more of a social event. Many of the vendors knew each other and spent the day chatting with each other. Some of the customers were regulars too. As for us, we talked to a lot of people, learned a lot about swap meets in Illinois, and made some friends to boot.
The next day we headed north to Wisconsin. We had another deadline to meet and had to be back in the St Cloud, MN area by Wednesday. That meant we would not be spending any quality time along that great scenic road we were just on. Drat. But it is still on the list of places to visit in the future.