Carry-on luggage, springtime weather, Discovery channel fans, Nascar great Bill Elliott, best mobile seat in the parade (on the back of a Ford Mustang convertible), Country music singer Scotty McCreery from "American Idol," corn hole games, military heroes, Jep Robertson's beard, Budweiser Clydesdales, warm and welcoming community, really cool antiques - this list sums up my weekend at the 86th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.
I so enjoyed my time in Winchester, Va. In addition to McCreery and the folks from A & E's "Duck Dynasty," I am such a big sports fan that I was really star struck when I met Nascar great Bill Elliott at the Grand Marshal's reception.
Later in the weekend, I laughed a lot with Discovery channel fans at the grand parade and at my antiques appraisal show. I present my show more than 150 times every year - it's a funny, fact-filled, and frank look at art, antiques and collectibles.
I started my Antiques Appraisal Comedy Tour in 1998 in an attempt to educate the public about their heirlooms and flea market finds. I was prompted to take my knowledge to the streets after meeting an elderly woman who had been taken advantage of by an unscrupulous appraiser in Winchester, just like other places, I discussed the art, antiques and collectibles brought to "The Bloom." I broke a heart or two and I made some people very, very happy by teaching them how to recognize a valuable antique. I appraised Staffordshire ceramic dogs and highlighted the highly recognizable color of the quality clay from England. I appraised a painting that dated back to the early 1800s and showed the audience how they could tell if a painting was painted by a European or by an American just by looking at one simple area on the back. I appraised a temple rubbing from Thailand on paper and pointed out how the paper fibers will reveal the age of the work. I appraised a piece of Native American pueblo pottery, showing the audience its characteristic black-on-black design traits. And, I even appraised Bing Crosby's hat!
I always remember the fans who attend my events, such as Dillion, who proved to me that he was a shrewd negotiator when he bargained for some antique ammo at a yard sale, or Barbara, who didn't mind that her antique shop purchase wasn't all that valuable because she had fun learning about her picture of cherubs anyway.
- Ph.D. antiques appraiser and author Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.