For Barbara Fields, "antiquing" isn't about hunting down high-value collectibles merely to lock them up and stow them away; it's about making memories:
"We like to think that collecting antiques decorates our lives," said the organizer -- for nearly 50 years -- of this weekend's Collectors Showcase Antique Show and Sale.
"The purpose of the showcase is to encourage people to appreciate their family heritage. Antiques are to be used and displayed, not just packed away. They unite families with good memories."
The event returns to the Kern Rooms at Hodel's for its 43rd run this weekend, making it one of the longest-running antique shows in Kern County.
Originally intended to be a showcase for collectible glassware (Fields founded the fair with another member of the Glass and China Club), the event has since expanded to three full rooms packed with 39 vendors selling vintage items of every variety and price point imaginable, making Fields' fair the ideal place to find that final item to complete your collection, and the memories that go along with it.
"When we first opened the show, people didn't collect as great of a variety of items as they do today," said Fields. "We have changed so that there's something for everyone and everybody's pocketbook at our show. Everything that you collect doesn't have to be expensive. Our dealers are very good -- they come from all over the state -- so people can find things that they enjoy and use in their homes."
Each year Fields and other club members decide on a theme for the fair that showcases one particular era or item. This year, she's selected one that truly shines:
"'Spotlight on Antiques.' We're spotlighting vintage lighting, vintage lamps, oil electric and lanterns and lovely candle holders. When you walk in the foyer, we'll have a display, and we think that the lighting theme is really going to be sparkly and make the room come alive."
The appeal of this show, like the items that the vendors sell over the course of the weekend, spans several generations. Grandmothers and grandkids alike (and even those picky teenagers and twenty-somethings in between) can find something.
"We live in such a throwaway society, but I think today's young people are beginning to turn away from that. Younger people are finding out that they can come to our show and buy nice things that are long lasting and much more durable for about the same price as what you can find in stores. If something is really well made, and if it's lasted 100 years -- it's going to last more."