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Brieanna Washburn offers an array of home decor items at The Happy Homestead at 635 Broad St., Beloit. Her store is among those participating in the Vintage Shop Hop on Friday and Saturday.

Thousands of shoppers will converge on northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday for the spring edition of the Vintage Shop Hop.

The event gives shoppers the opportunity to meet their friends for a couple of days of scouting for vintage decor. Some shop almost in their backyards, while others make a road trip out of it.

The event stretches across two states from the Mississippi River on the west to Lake Michigan on the east, stretching as far north as Stevens Point and Green Bay and as far south as Interstate 80 in Illinois.

“There is always a huge Wisconsin showing, especially in the Appleton and Oshkosh areas. It’s become a great event,” said event organizer Ann Campos.

As of Sunday, 382 shops in 160 municipalities had signed up to participate.

Twenty-nine businesses are participating on the Illinois side of the state line, from South Beloit to the Rockford and Belvidere areas. Thirty-six businesses are taking part in the Beloit, Janesville and Orfordville areas.

Each shop is required to have an “in-store” promotion for the weekend, and many will have complimentary refreshments and other fun surprises, including demonstrations, giveaways, raffle drawings, meet-the-artist events and games. Many shops are located in historical buildings, downtowns, villages and in the scenic countryside.

The Vintage Shop Hop started with 180 shops eight years ago and has increased in popularity with each hop.

“It began as a spring event, but after six years, the shoppers and shop owners requested a second shop hop later in the year," Campos said. "As a result, I added a fall hop in 2019, making it a semi-annual event.

"These small-business owners sometimes need a shot in the arm to boost their sales in a traditionally slow retail season and give shoppers a reason to leave the house, especially during the COVID world we live in today."

Social media has played a big role in the event's growth. Its Facebook fan page was launched the first year and now has more than 38,000 followers.

Campos said road trip planning is easy with the interactive Google Map and Master List of Shops. The Google Map includes all shop details and can be accessed on smartphones while shoppers are traveling. The list and map are available on the Facebook page and at vintageshophop.blogspot.com.

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