One of my favorite events of the year is the Brocton Red Barn event. This year, it runs noon to 5 p.m. April 5 and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6.
I like the smell of sawdust, the dirt floor and stalls which instead of animals now hold dealers with antiques and collectibles. I enjoy seeing craftsmen of chair caning, making rope, whittling a chunk of wood with small tools or a chain saw, basket weaving, pottery, and wood turning.
The event also features handmade soaps, lotions, metal items and garden decor along with stepping stones and other one-of-a-kind items.
More than 50 dealers will be there both days, some new and some who have been there all 13 years. There is a general line of American antiques, lots of primitives, glassware, pottery, jewelry and handmade furniture. Admission is $2, parking is free and really good food is offered both days. Children under 12 are free.
The site is on Illinois 49 only 5 miles south of U.S. 36 or 5 miles north of Illinois 133. For more information, call 385-2450 or visit http://www.broctonil.org .
If you need lamps repaired, try John's Repair Shop. It is a one-man operation run by John Miller, who can be reached at 398-3848 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
He also does other small repairs, so give him a call.
A fixture passes
He was quiet, confident, one of a kind. And once he knew you, you were a friend forever. He was a man of habit, skilled at mill work and a collector or pack rat. He loved garage sales and auctions and was a regular every morning at Steak 'n Shake.
Herb Helmick died this week, and with his passing Urbana lost one of its treasures. For years, he owned Helmick Lumber just across the street from Silver Creek Restaurant.
He was green before being green was popular. He was doing architectural salvage long before people ever heard of it.
As one of the most popular people in the twin cities, it just will not be the same in the antique community without him. He was 82 years young.
Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be sent to Swisher by emailing email@example.com.