RANDY JOHNSTON: OLAH hosts first annual Art and Antiques Show

EVART – Saturday was a day of celebration for the Osceola League for Arts and Humanities as they hosted a highly successful first Art and Antiques Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Community Building at the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart.

More than 350 arts, crafts and antique lovers, along with early Christmas shoppers, gathered from Evart, Marion, Hersey, Clare, Cadillac, Tustin, Barryton, Manton, Reed City, Big Rapids, Chase and further afield to browse and admire antiques, original artwork, photography and a wide variety of handcrafted items.

The spacious hall was filled with more than 40 colorful and intriguing exhibits featuring the creations of talented artists and crafters and displays of antique dealers from all parts of Michigan.

There was something for everyone–beaded jewelry, knitted, crocheted and embroidered items, custom-designed birdhouses and feeders, quilts, fragrant soaps and candles, Christmas ornaments, greeting cards, note cards, silhouette art, paper crafts, oil paintings, stained glass, clay sculptures, toys, games, cookbooks, festive fall and Christmas centerpieces, vintage glassware and nostalgic collectibles.

Shoppers were delighted with unusual items such as the ‘Bursting Memories’ scrapbooks by Debbie Delano from Morley. At first glance they appear to be typical hand-decorated albums or scrapbooks, but they ‘burst’ open, unfolding like an accordion to form a unique display of photos or other mementos.

A highlight of the show was the league’s own Antiques Roadshow. Visitors brought cherished treasures and heirlooms for on-the-spot appraisals by Bob Anderson, antiques connoisseur and auctioneer from Hersey.

Fascinated onlookers watched as Anderson assessed and evaluated a mix of vintage items including furniture, paintings, pottery, rare books and turn-of-the-century toys.

Melody Walker from Big Rapids was glad to have more information about a tea set that has been in her husband’s family for many years.

She learned that the set was made in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century and the dark finish of the metal is actually a desirable patina that should not be cleaned or polished. The monogramming on the pieces regrettably decreased the value which Anderson appraised at about $200. He concluded that Melody and her family should preserve the set just as it is and it’s value will increase over time.

“I like the idea of bringing antiques and having someone look at them and tell about their history and find out what they’re worth,” said Charlotte Eveland from Barryton. “I like to come to this kind of show and support the local economy and it’s only October but I thought I might pick up a couple of Christmas gifts.”

“It’s a wonderful show,” said Patrick Henry from Reed City. “It’s well organized and I like the mix of art and antiques.”

Chris Garner of Evart also praised the show. “I’ve seen some very interesting and unusual items and I’m looking for collectibles, especially old bottles. I definitely think they should do it again next year.”

“We had a fabulous turn out for our first show,” said Jim Pylman, league president. “The enthusiasm from both patrons and vendors has been phenomenal. I want to thank all the OLAH staff who helped out and organized and set up the show. We’re already looking forward to doing it again next year and we’re making plans to make it even more interesting and attractive to area residents.”

The Osceola League for Arts and Humanities, its studio and gift shop, are at 207 N. Main St., Evart. For more information about the league and how to participate in next year’s show, contact Renee Tolgo at (231) 388-5749.