Bellefonte is known for its rich history, which may be one of the reasons it has attracted antique vendors and collectors from around the country.
Some tour bus companies have even added Bellefonte to their routes along the East Coast, which has brought in antique hunters from the Midwest and beyond. The town has more than a few antique stores to choose from, including Plaza Centre Antiques, The Great Mish Mosh, Victorian House Antiques and Times Past Antiques.
So it’s a no-brainer that the second annual Bellefonte Antique Fair is set to cement the town’s status as a hotspot for antique collectors.
Sponsored in part by The Great Mish Mosh, one of several antique stores in Bellefonte, the event will feature vendor showcases, item appraisals and an auction that benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities. After the success of last year’s event, the Bellefonte Chamber of Commerce and Historical Bellefonte Inc. asked the store’s owners to spearhead the fair’s future. What began as a venue for antique sellers will offer much more to visitors this year.
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“It will be a complete event focused on antiquing, auctioning and appraising,” said Ede Boake, co-owner of The Great Mish Mosh. “In our mind, each of these facets naturally fit together, and we thought it would be excellent to offer it to the community.”
The fair’s sponsors hope to attract not only the antiquing audience but also people who may not typically purchase antiques. With so many shopping options available and new technology that comes out every year, Boake explained why antiques are still sought out.
“They stand the test of time and they are made with high-quality materials. And they have character. Sometimes in life, a little character helps,” she said.
An antique is traditionally defined as any object that is more than a century old. Today, many people use the term to describe anything that was made before they were born, and the shops in Bellefonte certainly offer items that have been around for less than 100 years. Despite widespread availability of cutting-edge technology, new appliances and furniture, and other modern products, the popularity of antiques hasn’t waned.
Mitch Bradley, owner of Victorian House Antiques, moved his business from New Jersey to Bellefonte in 2007. The items offered in his store cover a range of categories, including everything from high-end jewelry to sports collectibles. He said that antiques fit right in with the area because “they align well with a lot of the homes and businesses in and around town.”
Boake said antiques appeal to different groups of people for a variety of reasons.
“What we’re finding is a lot of younger people are coming in and looking at the items and saying, ‘You know, that’s just like what my grandmother had. I’m going to paint it and make it terrific and make it fit my lifestyle,’ ” Boake said. “Some people like to remember their past by including it as a part of their present. Other people who may be downsizing or starting a new life are looking to pay a reasonable price for nice items.”
This weekend’s event is also sponsored by Dave Kurten, of the 95.3 FM Friday radio bit “Dave’s Deals.” The morning radio show host has been collecting items from yard sales during the summer and will auction them off at the gazebo in Talleyrand Park.
Roger Snyder, an appraiser from Apple Hill Antiques in College Township, also will lend his services to the event. Visitors can bring their own antiques for Synder to appraise, free of charge. Anyone in search of new antiques to add to their collection can browse from a large selection of items that will be sold by 12 vendors. In addition, food will be provided by the Logan Fire Company.
As for the future of the Bellefonte Antique Fair, Boake said, “We feel like this is the beginning of a very long trend in Bellefonte.”