Springfield antique show, flea market this weekend

The stuff your great-great grandparents made was made to last — and this weekend is your chance to bring some of it back into the family.

The Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market Extravaganza runs Friday through Sunday at the Clark County Fairgrounds. Show owner Jon Jenkins said the biannual event has a reputation as one of the best “buying shows,” in the country, with affordable prices ranging from a quarter to $20,000 or more.

About 2,000 vendors sell everything from comic books and old coffee cans to museum-quality pieces of traditional Midwestern Americana.

The show has been around for more than 40 years, Jenkins said. That would make it vintage but not quite antique, according to the textbook definition that draws the line at about 100 years old.

“The great thing about the show is you can come and find something unique, probably handmade, that has no negative environmental impact, that may retain part of its value, and you’ll have an attachment to it,” Jenkins said. “You’ll remember where you first saw it. You’ll remember who you were with that day. You might remember who you bought it from. It has built-in memories.”

If you’ve ever fantasized about being an antique dealer for a living, today’s your chance to see what that’s really like. Vendors will line up, waiting to be allowed into the fairgrounds, and many open their trucks to wheel and deal with one another while they wait. Admission is $40 per person for the early “line buying” event, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, and includes readmission to the rest of the show all weekend.

Jenkins warns the line buying event is not for everybody. Only about 10 percent of the show items will even be visible, and the pace is frenetic. “It’s tremendously fascinating, but it’s not for the faint of heart,” he said.

The whole show opens Friday from 8 a.m. to noon for those willing to trade some extra sleep for the first shot at the best deals. Early-bird admission is $12 per person, and includes readmission during regular hours for the rest of the show weekend. Regular admission on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is $7 per person.

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