A blow to Antique Glass collectors and dealers

Probably not what glass lovers wanted to hear.

Gary Barnum, a well respected glass dealer and collector sent this to Trader; not very good news for glass collectors whose buying/selling season depends in large part on the Marietta Civitan Club Glass Show during the Fenton shows:

January 21, 2008

Marietta Civitan Club
PO Box 68
Marietta, OH 45750

Dear Glass Show Exhibitor:

We regret to inform you that the Marietta Civitan Club has decided not to hold the Glass Show this year. The combination of the organizational effort and increasing cost makes it impossible for us to continue this effort.

The club owes a deep debt of gratitude to Alice Hall, who along with her late husband Don founded the show, with the idea of using the profits to supporting Civitan. They put many years of hard work into the show.

We appreciate your support over the years and will miss the spirit of camaraderie that we have enjoyed with you. If no one else steps in to hold a similar event, our community will also miss the economic value that you and your customers brought to Marietta and the surrounding area.

To find out whether there will be another show during the conventions that may be helpful to you, we suggest contacting the following organizations:

Marietta/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau
121 Putnam St.
Marietta, OH 45750
(740) 373-5178

Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America
702 W. Fifth Street
Williamstown, WV 26187

(304) 375-6196

National Fenton Glass Society
156 Front Street
Marietta, OH 45750
(740) 374-3345

Thank you again for your support over the last twenty-five years and best wishes for your continued success in your business.

Very truly yours,

Marietta Civitan Club

And here’s what Gary wrote about the news:

Subject: Annual Marietta Glass Show/Sale Closing

Sad news…

The very large Glass Show and Sale held annually at the Fairgrounds in Marietta during the Fenton Conventions will not (after 25 years) be held in 2008 unless and until someone can take over from the Civitan Club!

What a blow that is to the hundreds of vendors who, like me, counted upon the Fairground’s Show/Sale to peddle their glass. What a blow also to the buyers who count on going to the event to find a treasure or a needed item to add to their collections.

The Civitan notice declares rising costs to be a reason for closing, but did not comment on the fact that they could have passed those costs on to the vendors. I, for one, would have expected an increase in the space rent to be normal under the circumstances. No. They are just not going to make the effort to promote or hold the show for the foreseeable future.

While I sure hope that someone or some organization can step up to the plate and keep the show going, I will be looking for other possible venues to set up and sell glass.

Options include: A.) Setting up in the motel holding the convention; in the rooms of the motel; B) Persuading the City of Williamstown to organize once again, the use of the City Park for vendors, or; C) Trying to squeeze more vendors into the Williamstown School Auditorium.

It looks bleak as it stands. I hope some enterprising person or group can and will step up and keep the show going and doing it during the Fenton Glass Society’s conventions, as before, the end of July. Heck, the NFGS, FAGGC and the Stretch Glass Society are ALL planning their conventions at that time. I know that all members of those groups will surely miss buying glass from the vendors who would have set up on the Marietta Fairgrounds.

If anyone hears more, please post the info or write a note to me.

Wait! There’s a little more bad news, adding insult to injury… The Old Knight’s Inn, where a popular room-to-room show was set-up during the glass conventions is being razed, maybe to not come back…

Here’s what Gary writes on this:

One long time favorite of glass vendors for the Fenton convention scene is going into history, too.

Sellers would annually occupy a sprawling one level motel that was arranged in perhaps six rows of rooms with about 20 rooms in each row. The vendors packed each room in the place and sold glass out of their rooms. If the door was not locked, it signified seller was ‘in’ and for buyers to open the door and come in to see what glass was for sale. Sales there went on for five or six days during the conventions.

Here’s the info about the Old Knight’s Inn; Best Value Inn/Old Knights Inn is being torn down and replaced with a Microtel.

That means another glass selling venue in Marietta is gone and perhaps not coming back as a place to sell glass during future conventions!

I’m curious to know what any of our readers who are in on the glass scene think about this, and what it says about the health of the market.