Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days

August 15, 16, and 17, 2014
Oronoco MN 55960
Established in 1972

Plans are beginning to take shape for the 42st annual Downtown Gold Rush Days.  This FREE premiere antique show and flea market event is located along the banks of the Zumbro River in historic Oronoco, Minnesota (10 minutes North of Rochester and about 45 minutes South of Minneapolis-St. Paul on Hwy 52).  Hundreds of dealers from throughout the region fill over a thousand booths up and down the picturesque hamlet’s streets.  This well established show is still identified as one of the top 12 Midwest antique shows to attend each year.

Show hours:  Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Visit for additional information or contact Carol Olson, Event Coordinator at 507-367-2111; POB 266, Oronoco MN 55960; email: . Follow us on Facebook at Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days.

Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is a non-profit organization.  All proceeds generated from this event are returned  to the Oronoco Community.

Find True Gold at Oronoco Gold Rush

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Visual Basics Programmer Wanted

We Need You Concept

The original application for Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days (a non-profit organization) was written in an XP format. Since Microsoft is no longer supporting the XP format, we are upgrading to
Windows 7 and we need a programmer with expertise in Visual to help us over the final hurdle. If you can help, please contact Carol Olson via or call 507-367-2111. Thank you!

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Find Photos from this year’s show on FaceBook

With all the immediacy of having Gold Rush going on around us, we don’t have time to post photos in two spots. Once the show is over, we can get better albums up here on the website. But for now, please check our FaceBook page for pictures from the show.

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Oronoco’s National Night Out 2014


National Night Out began in 1984 to promote involvement in crime prevention activities through the efforts of the National Association of Town Watch (NATW).  From Director Matt Peskin: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie. While the one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination to help make neighborhoods a safer place year round. The night celebrates safety and crime prevention successes and works to expand and strengthen programs for the next 364 days.”



For many years, the City of Oronoco has hosted a National Night Out event at the Oronoco Park.  This year’s event  has come and gone – we hope you were able to make it – but if you couldn’t we’ve gathered a few interviews with people who did attend.



The City staff did an awesome job organizing the event, from the lovely park grounds to new games to an incredible list of door prizes. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Sandy, Rebecca, Cain and Travis for their efforts in assuring that the citizens had a great time. And it was! There were bouncy houses and great food, and plenty of things for the children to do, plus informational goody bags.


This post contains just a few interviews with people I talked to. Everyone was having a good time, but most of them didn’t want to be on camera…. (Nor am I the best cameraman out there so the clips are more than a bit wobbly).

Oronoco Fire Department and First Responders play an important part in Oronoco’s National Night Out! They have a very visible presence at the event, bringing several trucks plus other equipment to the event to help educate the public in their work within the community. Plus they put together water activities for the children, which is always fun to see.



Kids and Firemen1

Fire Department and First Responder volunteers were also involved in the bouncy houses, including being vigilant for safety and preventing overcrowded sliding situations. And in general just enjoying watching the children while catching up with friends. Everyone was having fun!

Taken well before the crowds showed up! This got really busy about ten minutes later.

Taken well before the crowds showed up! This got really busy about ten minutes later.

We also had a visit from Romeo – a clown of extra-ordinary talent and humor! Teasing us with pizza and fish sticks… The park was alive with balloon animals and other creations! Romeo has been a member of the River City Rascals/Winona Clown Club since 1994. He typically does parades, charities, benefits with the Winona Clown Club.


This event would not have been the same, however, without the good food we were able to eat. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and cucumber salads were free to everyone who attended. And it was the hardworking members and volunteers of the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Committee who were manning the grills and serving people. They were glad to see people enjoying themselves! This committee sponsors part of the food and entertainment for Oronoco’s National Night Out through the funds raised during Gold Rush. They are also the most visible members of our community during the Gold Rush Weekend and work tirelessly to assure that visitors, vendors and citizens have a safe and interesting time.


Oronoco’s National Night Out and Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush are connected in more ways than this committee! Many members of the community attend and work at both, and it is important to celebrate our neighborhood camaraderie at these events and all year around. It is one of our strengths as a community.

Gold Rush is just days away! We hope to see you there!

Posted in Entertainment

There are Two Ways to Get a Gift This Year!

We are doing something new for us this year…well, maybe we have done this in year’s past, but for this writer, it’s a new opportunity. We are holding a food drive to benefit the Oronoco Food Shelf. Your donations should be brought to the Information Booth. And we have a small gift for you if you do!

You have options, though. Print out this coupon and bring it to the Information Booth, if you’d rather. Or do both – there is no wrong way to do this.


Posted in Informational

Meet Shean Fritts

If you have the opportunity to pause at the Community Center during Gold Rush, you might find Shean working on a new mural! I know he’s going to be around town and would be happy to talk. His work can also be seen in other areas of the community center, on the shopping bags and t-shirts available at the Information Booth, and on magnets and postcards he will be selling…I’m not sure where and will update this post when I find out, OK?

Shean was kind enough to visit with Carol Olson about how the cartoon characters came to be – enjoy this short interview to hear more about Bill, Jack and Clare.

Posted in Volunteers

JUNKMARKET Style Top 10 Design Trends for 2015

Join author and national magazine editor, Sue Whitney of JUNKMARKET Style at 2 PM on Friday, August 15 and find out what’s cooking in the JMS design kitchen for 2015. You can find her directly in front of the Fire Hall. JUNMARKET will also have a design booth during the entire show located at booth CO14 on the east side of the Fire Hall.

JMS Color Way for 2015
Saturated, rich, and a little playful

Organic By Nature
Add depth and interest to any décor by incorporating organic materials.

Refinish….or Maybe Not
Informed decision making and option exploration

Simple Elegance
Clutter be gone. …less really is more.

Fashion Savvy
Feel free to be your sassy vintage self.

Soft Industrial
A leather and lace approach to industrial

Sometimes girls just want to be girly

Modern Measure
Achieve a clean and contemporary look

The fine art of mix and match

Imagination Station
Don’t leave home without it.

Posted in Entertainment

Welcome to Dale Walksler and WHAT’S IN THE BARN?

WHAT’S IN THE BARN? brings viewers on a quest that crisscrosses the U.S. for vintage motorcycles and cars. Wheels Through Time Museum curator Dale Walksler hosts this one-of-a-kind journey through America’s barns where yesterday’s junk becomes automotive Americana that he will bring back to life and sell. Walksler has spent his life searching for long since forgotten gems, and uncovering history in the most unusual and extraordinary places. As his passion grew, so did his collection, eventually evolving into the motorcycle paradise that is the Wheels Through Time Museum. Located in Maggie Valley, N.C., Wheels Through Time features more than 300 of America’s rarest classic motorcycles, and the collection continues growing thanks to Dale’s undying passion for historic automotive machines. Find out WHAT’S IN THE BARN? every Tuesday night at 10 PM ET/PT beginning June 25 only on Velocity.

Velocity Network will be filming at Gold Rush on Friday mid-afternoon. Please join us in welcoming Dale Walksler and Velocity Network’s filming crew to the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days!

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Vendors coming to Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush have requested Help to set-up their booths. Vendors generally pay $8 to $10 an hour. If you Are available to help on Thursday, August 14th at noon, please call 367-2111 or Send an email to Some heavy lifting is often required.

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Here is a story on the cartoon characters Bill, Jack and Clare

Shean Fritts, the creator of Bill, Clare and Jack
I moved to Oronoco in 2005 with my wife, Karen, and my daughter, Nicole. In the spring of 2013, Oronoco was switching over from well water to city water. So, on the outside of the water bill envelope, I decided to draw a cartoon of a gold miner and his donkey. Then I would drop it off in the water bill drop off box at the Oronoco City Hall building. I enjoyed drawing these two characters. Then I drew two more cartoons on the next two bills. At this time, I didn’t know if the two gals working in the office liked the cartoons or thought I was a little nutty for drawing on the water bill envelopes. So, I hand delivered the fourth water bill to see their reactions. When I walked into the office, they were probably wondering what I wanted. But, when I handed the monthly cartoon over, I was pleased to see two big smiles which made me smile. After that I was hooked. I know it might sound weird, but, I couldn’t wait to draw my next water bill cartoon.

After about ten months, I got an email from Sandy and Rebecca, the two gals from the office, asking if I could paint some murals in the city hall building where they worked. They really enjoyed the miner and his donkey, but, they wondered if I could add a female miner in with the other two characters. I said, “Sure, no problem. I can do that.” Realizing these characters needed some names, I named the miner, Bill, because he got his start on the water bill envelope. Bill’s donkey is named Jack. This is a family site, so for all of the adults out there, you know where the name Jack comes from. But, our donkey is a sweet donkey. Clare is the name of the female miner, who is a lovely young lady, and adds a little bit of a woman’s perspective to these two other western cartoon characters.

Carol from the Gold Rush Committee saw the mural paintings after they were done and thought the people at the Gold Rush event would like them. She presented Bill, Jack and Clare to the rest of the Gold Rush Committee and all of a sudden, Bill, Jack and Clare are now part of the 2014 Gold Rush event.

I hope everyone enjoys these funny, little, western, cartoon characters. I know I sure enjoy drawing these lovable creations and sharing them with you. I guess I never grew up, because I still draw my little cartoons as an adult. When I was a school kid it was my way of fitting in with my school peers and look busy doing homework.

Thank you to everyone who had a part in helping to bring these cartoon characters to life. I would never have thought that my little drawings would receive so much love.

But that’s Oronoco for you.
Hopefully we will see you all at the Oronoco Gold Rush.
From the creator of Bill, Clare and Jack.

Shean Eric Fritts

P.S. You can find the mural paintings in the men’s and women’s rest rooms in the Oronoco City Hall Community Center, but, please don’t go in the opposite sex rest rooms. That could be very embarrassing!

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JUNKMARKET Style Fashion Show

Join author and national magazine editor, Sue Whitney of JUNKMARKET Style at 2 PM on Friday, August 15 and find out what’s cooking in the JMS design kitchen for 2015. You can find her directly in front of the Fire Hall. JUNMARKET will also have a design booth during the entire show located at booth CO14 on the east side of the Fire Hall.

A Unique Fashion Show Brought to You by Sue Whitney of JUNKMARKET Style

Vintage clothing is all the rage, but not everyone can wear it so JMS has created a new take on the vintage fashion show. This promises to be a fashion show like you have never seen before. JUNKMARKET Style is constantly on the cutting edge and when it comes to fashion you can expect no less.

You will be the first to be introduced to “The Clothes Line” by JMS. This will include a variety of scarves, skirts, boot enhancers, and more. Some of the pieces will be simple repurposes and some will be created entirely out of unexpected vintage elements.

There will be plenty of flat out vintage styles for you to enjoy from casual to fancy shmancy. In addition, for those who only wish to accessorize with vintage we will have plenty of drop dead gorgeous jewelry by several talented artists including Mixed Up, Grace & Corazon, and Karla Schmidt, not to forget the fabulous Flippin’ boots also from Grace & Corazon.

What’s the kicker? Each model will also be carrying a vintage décor piece that is reflective of what she is wearing. Music by Seeing Double will make this show even more fun! See you there!

Posted in Entertainment

Vendors Welcome

We welcome new vendors to join us! To contact Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days, Inc. please call 507-367-2111 or email

Thank You to our Banner Sponsors!