By Matthew Woods
An event that brings antique dealers, visitors and vendors from around the country to Midland, Mich., every year was recently honored by the state.
Lori Oberlin, the owner of the Michigan Antique Festival, received a letter of recognition signed by Rep. Gary Glenn, Sen. Jim Stamas and Gov. Rick Snyder. The letter was presented to Oberlin by Glenn.
“This was quite an honor for us,” Oberlin told the Daily News. Oberlin, who lives in Orchard Lake,
has run the festival since purchasing it in 2006. She said it is nice to see the hard work continue to pay off for all the people that make the statewide show happen every year. “We were surprised,” she said, laughing. “It was very, very nice.”
“Since its inception, the Michigan Antique Festival has been an annual tradition observed not only by those in Midland, but throughout our entire state,” stated a portion of the recognition. “This dynamic and vibrant tradition draws thousands of visitors annually, making the Michigan Antique Festival a truly unique Pure Michigan experience.”
Oberlin said the honor was a surprise up until a couple of weeks before the ceremony. She said the festival is the biggest antique show in the state, and will soon be moving into its fifth decade of operation. “This is our 47th year in Midland,” Oberlin said. “We love Midland.”
Oberlin said the festival continues to collect fans. “We have 54,000 or so followers on Facebook,” Oberlin said, laughing. “We are proud of that.” Currently, about 75,000 people visit the five annual, statewide events.
The strengthening economy continues to positively affect the festival, Oberlin said, as well as the areas that host the shows during the year.
“A lot of people are financially impacted by the festival,” she said. “The economy is much better for the show now and much better for the community.”
Oberlin said she is pleasantly surprised by the distances some dealers travel for the festival.
“We’ve had dealers travel to Michigan from Utah, Wisconsin, New York and Canada,” she said. “We can’t even count the number of dealers coming from out of state.”
Every year brings something new. “We are always adding something more to the show,” she said. She said newer features, like the Taste of Michigan section of the festival, can bring in new vendors and guests who might not have the strongest interest in traditional antique festivals. The exhibit, featuring Michigan products and services, has proven quite popular.
Oberlin said the positive exposure businesses received at the festival often helps launch successful small businesses. As for Midland, Oberlin said the city has been a good base for operations every time the venue rolls into town.
Midland resident Judy Campbell has lent her antique knowledge and appraisal experience to the Midland edition of the festival for more than 20 years. She said Oberlin is a great promoter for the business, bringing in more vendors and guests every year.
“She has been so positive,” Campbell, the owner of Midland-based Judy Campbell Appraisals, said. “She bends over backwards to help people.”
The Michigan Antique Festival will visit Davisburg Oct. 3-4, at the Springfield Oaks County Park. For more information, www.MiAntiqueFestival.com.