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Antique show, deemed among top in area, offers something for everyone

Intermediate League of Butler’s 72nd annual Antique Show & Sale coming March 15, 16 and 17
Marcia and Tim Sweet, a mother and son team, will be selling antique jewelry and a variety of unique antiques at the annual Intermediate League of Butler Antique Show & Sale coming up March 16, 17 and 18. Ed Thomson/Butler Eagle

It’s an event that is definitely anticipated each March by collectors and antique aficionados, but organizers of the Intermediate League of Butler Antique Show & Sale say anyone can enjoy the show.

The 72nd annual Intermediate League of Butler Antique Show & Sale will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 15; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the Tanglewood Center, 10 Austin Ave., Lyndora.

Tickets are for Friday night are $11 in advance or $12 at the door, and $7 in advance for Saturday or Sunday or $10 at the door. A Friday night ticket gets the bearer in on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Advance tickets are available at Don Paul Jewelers on Main Street in Butler or from any Intermediate League of Butler club member.

Anne Miller, who has been on the show’s planning committee for more than 20 years, said attending the show not only helps fund the 16 nonprofit groups that will receive its proceeds, but also provides a fun atmosphere where everyone can enjoy perusing the vendors’ unique and historical wares.

“It really appeals to everybody,” Miller said. “People like to come and browse and say ‘I remember my grandmother had one of those’ or ‘I’d really like to have that for my home.’”

Miller said she has purchased vintage toys spied by her grandchildren at a booth.

“There is a wide range of goods,” she said.

The show is the only annual fundraiser for the Intermediate League of Butler. Miller said that last year $20,000 was raised for distribution to the nonprofits the league supports.

“When I first started, it was more like $10,000,” she said. “We had a super year last year.”

The nonprofits slated to receive donations from the proceeds of this year’s antique show are Butler Area Public Library, Butler Art Center and Gallery, Butler County Symphony Orchestra, Butler Little Theatre, Butler Memorial Hospital, Children’s Advocacy Center, Jean B. Purvis Community Health Center, Community Meals, Friends of Preston Park, Grapevine Center, Isaiah 11:7, Kids’ Weekend Backpack program, Musical Theatre Guild, Tanglewood Center, Maridon Museum and Butler YMCA.

Miller said the show has become very well regarded in the area, as the number of antique shows has decreased.

She has 40 vendors planned for this year’s show, which is the maximum number that can set up in the various rooms in the Tanglewood Center.

Many are repeat vendors who reserve a spot every year.

“They always say that the Butler show treats their dealers really well, and I think that’s why they come back,” Miller said. “They have a good experience.”

She said those who attend on Friday night will receive a dessert sampler box in the Armco Room at the Tanglewood Center, where they can enjoy their sweets while socializing.

On Saturday and Sunday, Tanglewood volunteers prepare food for sale, including coffee and pastries in the morning, light lunch items, and more substantial fare as well.

“It’s very popular and that is something else the dealers like, because they can get something good to eat,” Miller said.

She said a queen-plus size handmade quilt will be raffled, and one lucky attendee will receive a door prize.

Asked if she has a particular vendor or item she looks for each year at the show, Miller answers immediately.

“Oh, I peruse them all,” she said. “Several times.”

Miller hopes those who have considered attending in the past will come check out the show this year, and she looks forward to seeing all the return customers.

“I would just really encourage people to come,” she said. “It’s a great way to spend a couple hours on a weekend in March, and you can find something for everyone.

“Whether you buy or not, it will be a fun experience for you.”

Vendor for 20-plus years

One antique expert who has enjoyed the Butler show for more than two decades is Tim Sweet, of Middlesex Township, who displays and sells various vintage and antique items alongside his mother, Marcia Sweet, who sells antique and vintage jewelry.

Sweet said he got involved in antiques many years ago when a friend suggested they partner to pursue a hobby in antiques.

“She moved to Cleveland,” he said. “I kept doing it on my own.”

Sweet said he always looks forward to and enjoys the Butler show.

“People come to that show ready to buy interesting things,” he said. “The crowd is pretty knowledgeable. They’re not tire kickers and browsers.”

Sweet said many diverse items are on display at the Butler show.

“For those selling antiques, it’s important to create an environment where people come to have fun and buy interesting things that either remind them of their childhood or because they are avid collectors,” he said.

Sweet’s booth has primitives, folk art, paintings, art glass and art pottery, among other vintage and antique items.

“I consider antiques to be artifacts of history,” he said.

His mother will display several tables and cases full of antique costume and fine jewelry.

Marcia Sweet said costume jewelry from the 1940s and ’50s is hot because gold and silver have become so expensive.

The Sweets also will offer free evaluations of items the public brings in, and at no charge.

“We just try to be helpful with people because they’re curious,” Tim Sweet said. “I think people really appreciate that.”

Sweet said he once sold a 1740 Baltimore tea table in the Queen Anne style at the Butler sale for $7,000.

“Sometimes big ticket items like that do sell at Butler, but others will spend $30,” he said. “We try to bring lots of different things from different (pricing) tiers.

Sweet said younger buyers are currently interested in pieces from the mid-20th century.

“From the late 1930s into the ’70s’, a lot of that stuff is available, and people are decorating their homes with midcentury modern furniture and accessories,” he said.

Other buyers are only interested in items from the niche they collect, like a particular type of pottery and only pieces from one period when that pottery was made, specific Civil War memorabilia, or hundreds of other niches.

“There are so many people with individual preferences, which tends to drive the niche market,” Sweet said.

But occasionally, Sweet’s heart is touched by a reaction to an item at his booth.

For example, Sweet’s booth at the Butler show one year included a display that showcased the 1908 Butler High basketball team.

“A woman came along, who I knew, and put her hand over her mouth and gasped,” Sweet recalled. “She said ‘This is my father playing basketball on the 1908 team.’ That was just a very cool moment.”

Over the years, Sweet has noticed people gazing furtively at various items he has on display, and he immediately knows it had some meaning to them.

“Sometimes people will look at something at your booth, and you can tell it had an affect on their soul,” he said.

Sweet will bring hundreds of fascinating items to the Butler show this year, as usual.

“I’m going to bring an old stop sign from the 1940s,” he said. “It’s the type of thing that really connects with people.”

Here are some of the antiques that will be sold by the mother and son team Marcia and Tim Sweet. They will be selling both antique jewelry among other things at the annual Intermediate League of Butler Antique Show & Sale. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle

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