Maxwell Street Days…

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That’s what they call end-of-summer sidewalk sales here in Wisconsin.  Who knew?  This is the way it came down…the same Saturday that my lake “sister” and I went to the Farmer’s Market in Madison coincided with the Maxwell Street Days.  BTW, the Farmer’s Market in Madison is one of the best in the country, and I should know, I have been to many of them all across the U.S. of A.

But I digress…back to Maxwell Street, which is what I thought was actually a street in Madison, where there were sidewalk sales.  There were displays aplenty, and Geege and I visited most of them.  We’d pretty much shopped ourselves out of money before, so we didn’t actually find anything we couldn’t live without.  Then, last Saturday, my sister and I were in Stoughton, and she said, “Oh.  It’s Maxwell Street Days.”

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“Where’s Maxwell Street?” I asked, reasonably.

Her (befuddled):  There’s no Maxwell Street in Stoughton that I know of.

Me (even more befuddled): Well then, why are there Maxwell Street Sales?

She didn’t know, and then my sister-in-law phoned to invite me to the Monroe Maxwell Street Sales.  Hello?  Does every town in Wisconsin have a Maxwell Street?  No, is the answer, and here is the history, and the best kind of history:  a history of shopping sales!  How great is that?

In the late 1800’s there were retail sales twice a year…in January, after Christmas, and in July and August, at the end of the summer.  During the beautiful summer weather, the shops on Maxwell Street in Chicago would put their sale merchandise out on the sidewalk.  People looked forward to that sale weekend all season long.  The tradition radiated around the Windy City, and viola!  Maxwell Street Days!  Confusion resolved, history revealed.

What more could any shopper and writer want?  An uncovered story, great bargains,  AND shopping at three towns’ Maxwell Street Days?

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