“The event was started in 1985 by my father, Bruce Metzger. I was young at the time, but I’ve been involved with the business ever since he started it. I think I was eight years old around that time and he made me the clean-up crew,” Metzger said.
“Basically, he started it off with the idea that it would be a genuine, true antique show, and it’s held true to that. So, we consider ourselves above and beyond a normal flea market, where we ask that all the vendors that sell items there, that they be at least 30 years old, or collectible. In fact, I think that’s how we bill ourselves as ‘Indiana’s largest antiques and vintage-only market,’” he said.
From the time he was a kid, to now being an adult in his 40s, Metzger said the first thing that drew him to the business were the people. He also continues to collect vintage, vinyl records.
“You have to be kind of a character to be in this business. So, there are a cast of characters, and that makes it fun,” Metzger said. “You have to be a little eccentric to want to do this. Plus, the stuff is neat, and like I said, I’m drawn to the stories with a lot of this stuff,” Metzger said.
With the gates opening at 6 a.m., a lot of the vendors arrive at 4 a.m. The show closes at 3 p.m. and it takes a couple of hours to pack up. So, it’s a long day and hard work. Many dealers also travel to be at the event.
The indoor/outdoor market boasts an ever-changing line up of between 150 to 200 dealers selling a wide array of antique, vintage and retro merchandise from a variety of time periods and price points. About half of the vendors are under cover, and the remaining dealers are located outside in an open area.
Shoppers will find a variety of items from furnishings, jewelry, early Americana, vintage Pyrex, mid-century modern art, Rookwood pottery, vinyl records, pop culture memorabilia and more. The market is truly a unique shopping experience and just about anything can turn up.
“Some vendors come to every show. Others come once or twice a year. We like that because it keeps the show fresh. It’s not the same old show every time, and antiques are such a broad field. We’re talking about multiple time periods, going back to the 1600s and 1700s, all the way through to the late 1980s to early 1990s, and a lot of vendors specialize in certain items,” Metzger said.
Vendors might specialize in mid-century modern furniture, which is hot right now, and includes items from the 1930s through the 1960s. Other dealers stock items from earlier, turn of the century time periods, including items from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Certain dealers may also specialize in art, paintings, and sculptures. Others focus on items like glassware, including Fenton Glass and Rookwood Pottery, which originated from Cincinnati.
“I’m always looking for the next group of people who are going to be into this, like vintage and antique stuff, and they are certainly out there, but a lot of younger people are online savvy. So, there may be people in their 20s and 30s that are interested in certain antique, vintage items. Vintage clothing, and things like vinyl records are hot with them right now,” Metzger said. “…What we’re finding is there’s always going to be a demand for people to go to events, and for people to get out and about, and mingle, in-person. That’s really one of the biggest selling points of doing an event like this.”
Another popular feature of the event is the new face board, where guests can snap a photo of themselves and share it or post the photo on social media. Another demand was for shaded seating areas, so the organizers have focused on increasing the shaded seating and rest areas.
The Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds is in southeast Indiana, approximately one mile west of exit 16, off Interstate 275. The location is within minutes of both the Ohio and Kentucky borders.
How to go
What: Tri-State Antique Market
When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Early bird shoppers will be welcome during vendor set up at 6 a.m. Gates open at 6 a.m.
Where: Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, U.S. 50 and Hollywood Blvd., one mile west of exit 16, off Interstate 275
Admission: A walk-in $4 admission fee will be charged for adults. Youth under 18 will be admitted free.
More info: www.lawrenceburgantiqueshow.com or (513) 702-2680