Bob Mahalik of Mary Lou's Crystal Repair grinds and reshapes a chipped 1910-era cut glass pitcher during the annual Antiques and Collectibles Show sponsored by the Mental Health America of Porter County. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
For more on Mental Health America of Porter County and the services it provides, call 462-6267, or go to www.mentalhealthamerica.net.
Updated: April 8, 2013 7:20AM
Sally Pollock carried a children’s chair around with her at the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso on a recent Saturday.
She bought it during Mental Health America of Porter County’s annual antique show from the chair’s original owner, who’s 78 now. Pollock, of Valparaiso, comes to the antique show, now in its 28th year, every year, to shop and to look around.
“It’s for the memories,” she said on March 2, the first day of the two-day show. “I come here and go from being 58 to 8, because I see something I had or Grandma had,” she said, adding the show is cheap entertainment “and it’s an excellent cause.”
Funds raised by the show go for services provided by the nonprofit, including emergency assistance for prescriptions and suicide education and prevention, said Mary Hodson, the agency’s executive director.
The goal of the show is to raise $8,000 to $10,000 after expenses are paid, with the hope of bringing in 3,000 people over the course of the weekend, Hodson said, adding this year’s event is bigger than in the past.
“This is the biggest one ever. There are 68 dealers. We doubled last year’s numbers,” she said, adding word of mouth among the dealers helped grow the show.
The show’s vendors offered a wide array of antiques, including china, jewelry, dolls, furniture and knickknacks. Maria Michels, of Highland, offered vintage accessories, including purses and coats, at her booth. This is the fourth year she’s been involved.
Michels said she likes helping MHA out, and she meets a lot of nice people — and those knowledgeable about antiques — while she’s at the show.
“It’s fun,” she said. And does she shop while she’s there? “Of course. How do you think I amassed all this?”
Mary Lou Gates, of Joliet, Ill., also has been participating in the show the past few years. Her husband Bob repairs chipped and broken glassware, crystal and porcelain while folks visit the show.
Stationed near the door, Gates said some people gather damaged items throughout the year for when they see her at the show. Whether an item is high in monetary value or sentimental attachment, she said it could be repaired rather than thrown out.
“We’ve been doing it year after year and there are not a lot (of people) doing it in this area,” she said. “The girls know how to find me.”