THORNTON, Ill. (November 30, 2023) – The Illinois Vintage Fest returned to Thornton Distilling Co. on Saturday, November 25 with over 10 vendors selling vintage items including clothing, antiques, home goods, and collectibles.
Saturday’s event marks the sixth time the fest has been hosted in the distillery’s event space since Illinois Vintage Fest was founded in 2020.
For the first time, the event featured many items sold for $10 and under.
Many of the attendees are high school and college students who may have limited funds, so the fest offers free admission at every event to ensure they are able to attend, said organizers.
Rene Hernandez attended the event with his teenage son and two other children.
“I attended because my son is [interested] in vintage items,” he said.
Founders of Illinois Vintage Fest
The fest was founded by two friends, Ben Justice and Shayne Kelly, after Kelly had a very successful vintage garage sale at his home. The sales grew to having over 900 attendees within a few months.
The duo decided to move away from garage sales to host their first vintage-inspired flea market in October 2020 in New Lenox.
“The goal was to promote sustainable clothing but also to give an opportunity to different vendors that are selling [vintage items]”, said Ben Justice, Co-Owner of Illinois Vintage Fest.
Vendors were brought in via word of mouth in the early stages of the fest, but they are now required to fill out an application to be approved to sell.
Vintage Flea Market at Thornton Distillery
According to Justice, the event is a “bridge” between a craft fair and a flea market with a focus on vintage finds.
He says the Illinois Vintage Fest is for people who are “looking for something unique” that they may not be able to find in a standard store.
Stephanie Miranda, who has a passion for thrifting, traveled from Hammond, Indiana to attend the fest.
“I love the environment and the vibes,” said Miranda. “All of the vendors [are] really down-to-earth kind of people.”
Illinois Vintage Fest usually travels around the Chicagoland area, but organizers have recently partnered with the Wisconsin Vintage Fest for an event featuring over 100 vendors on December 3 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The fest’s next stop in Illinois will be at DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, Illinois on December 16 and 17.
For more information about Illinois Vintage Fair, and upcoming events, visit www.instagram.com/illinoisvintagefest. Thornton Distilling Co. is located at 400 E Margaret Street in Thornton.
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