One pastime that continues to be popular is the hobby of collecting, whether it be antiques, coins, vintage toys, nostalgic household items or any of countless other collectibles.
The Internet is one source that has broadened the reach of collectors, who are now able to search the world for their items of interest. But there are people who would rather do their hunting for collectibles in a more old-school fashion. For those sorts, the Rangeland Collectors Club’s annual Antiques and Collectibles Show and Sale presents an opportunity for collectors to search for items in a hands-on way.
“There are still people who like it ‘touchy-feely’ — they like to see it,” says Valerie Loewen, a long-time member of the Rangeland Collectors Club, which will hold its annual event Oct. 19-20 at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club (under the Grandstand next to Bullys) at Exhibition Park. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Admission is $3.
The annual show attracts vendors from across Alberta as well as B.C. and Saskatchewan, and features a vast assortment of antiques and collectibles. Organizers try to bring in a diverse lineup of vendors, says Loewen, which allows visitors to browse exhibitors’ booths showcasing jewellery, dolls, toys, military items, along with “man cave stuff” such as old signs, oil cans, etc.
Older items are a popular attraction not only for older people who enjoy seeing items from the “old days,” but also for the kids who attend with their parents or grandparents.
“People come by for the nostalgia,” Loewen explains.
Loewen and her husband have been club members for more than 35 years and got into it through their collecting of antiques. She jokes that collecting becomes so addictive, “We call it our disease. We’re always looking for the next wonderful piece for our collection.”
The club has about two dozen members whose collections cover a broad spectrum of interest areas. Members also range from senior citizens to youngsters.
“We love to share our knowledge of different collections,” says Loewen.
She adds that while the older generation of collectors “would collect everything,” younger collectors are different. “The young kids have to have a purpose” for the items they collect. “They want to have something they’re going to use.”
Often that means searching for something with which to decorate their home, and if it’s something with s sentimental family attachment, that’s even better. The younger collectors want items “with personal meaning … like a spoon that Grandma used, or old Christmas ornaments. It’s memories.”
Loewen says collecting can be an environmentally friendly hobby because it’s all about repurposing old items. She notes one member is into “recycling and upcycling” — turning old items into pieces of art.
“She’s repurposing by making it into something useful,” says Loewen.
This year’s sale will mark the ninth year of holding the event at Bullys. The annual show, which originally featured only club members, began in the Moose Hall but eventually outgrew the facility and was forced to move to different venues, including the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization’s facility.
Proceeds from the event go to benefit local charities, and over the years, the club has assisted such organizations as Harbour House and the Royal Canadian Legion.