Wet weather no deterrent for antique show

SALEM- The early rains kept some dealers away from Centennial Park Saturday, but the buyers still came, enjoying the cooler temperatures for the 49th annual Salem Kiwanis Antique and Craft Show.

“The dealers who are here have told me they’re doing well,” Kiwanis board member Nancy McCoy said.

The popular antique and craft show typically attracts about 100 vendors, but there were a number of open spots, with walk-in numbers for vendors down due to the wet weather. The event will celebrate its 50th year in 2014, something the group’s incoming president Melanie Thirion said they looking forward to next year.

“We’re very excited,” she said.

Current president Shawna L’Italien said they’ve talked about doing something different or special for the 50th show, but there are no definite plans yet. They’ll start planning for next year now, after wrapping up this year’s show.

When asked how they’ve managed to keep it going for 49 years strong, she credited the park environment and the vendors who keep returning, some from far away.

“We have a lot of loyal vendors who come back every year,” she said.

A lot of customers come back every year, too, looking for certain dealers, a certain type of merchandise or just browsing for that something special that catches their eye. The show features a variety of items, from antique furniture and collectibles to old postcards, toys and books. Crafts were added a few years ago. Some local groups also display items, such as the Salem Historical Society.

“People walk through the park and they see stuff their grandparents or parents had…old tools…it’s like a different world,” Kiwanis treasurer Roger Hack said.

McCoy said the park setting has kept the event going, plus it’s free for people to just wander around and look at the many antique items. The event used to be held at Reilly Stadium, but she said people seem to love the park setting.

Melanie Atkinson of Joe-Ann Antiques & Wire & Metal Garden Structures traveled six hours to Salem from Indiana to sell their wares. She and her husband have been coming for the last seven or eight years and for most shows, they set up on pavement. She liked the trees and grass at Centennial Park.

“People are very friendly here,” she said.

Bob McBride of Salem didn’t have far to travel to set up his display and demonstration of old time model engines which he made by hand. A retired tool maker, he fashions all the pieces and parts for the scale models of hit & miss engines powered by Coleman fuel. His display includes a ferris wheel and a water pump reproduction powered by engines he made.

His first show was in Florida about seven years ago, but said “this is my favorite place here.”

He used to work on antique cars, but due to health reasons, he switched to model engines.

“It’s an interesting hobby…becoming more popular,” McBride said.

Besides the shopping and browsing, visitors could buy tickets for the Chinese auction and silent bid auction hosted by Salem Kiwanis featuring about 80 baskets donated by Kiwanians and some businesses.

L’Italien said people will still have a chance to buy tickets or submit bids for the baskets during the Salem iFest in the municipal lot off of Pershing Street in downtown Salem, which is being held Aug. 10. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 or 12 for $10.

Proceeds from the antique and craft show and the baskets benefit Kiwanis projects throughout the year, such as their Fat Tuesday food event, the Punt, Pass and Kick contest, the child car seat check and Key Club activities at Salem High School.

To follow the Salem Kiwanis, which has about 41 active members, check out the website at www.clubrunner.ca/salemkiwanis or check the club’s Facebook page.