Saratoga Show a Little Wet, but Big Fun


I had to include this photo of Avonlea Stiles waiting to sell tickets at the gate. No matter how hard it rained she stayed at her post and did her part. People say all the time we need more young people in the hobby. Look around you and you will see them. The hobby is so lucky to have a young lady like this involved. Thank You Avonlea for you efforts!

Saratoga Show a Little Wet, but Big Fun

On June 5th, I attended The Saratoga Antique Bottle Show & Sale which is held every year as a fundraiser for the National Bottle Museum.


Meg Stevens and Avonlea Stiles welcome the guests. Even in the rain they keep their sprits high.

This spring, some of the shows in the northeast have had some inclement weather to deal with. The Empire Club had a freak snow (Read: Takes More Than Snow to Hold Down The Empire State Bottle Collectors Association) storm the morning of the show and the Saratoga show had some heavy rain. Nevertheless, the people of the northeast always put together a fun time and great shows. As the saying says, “Come hell or high water, the show must go on.” The show moved back to the county fairgrounds last year where it all started years ago.

There had been a few complaints that lighting was a bit poor and this year both buildings had all new lighting installed which made a world of difference. All the dealers were saying how much nicer everything was and I have to agree. I had made plans to set up outside this year, but the rain changed those plans. The fair association had built a new building last year and the museum was able to rent it along with the old building used last year. This gave much more room for dealers to spread out a bit and also gives the show room to grow. There were clearly more dealers on hand this year than last.


The hard work of an all-volunteer staff paid off. In the past, Jan Rutland handled the show and when she passed things were a bit out of sync for a while. Like anything when someone handles something for so long, it takes the new people a while to learn to drive the ship. The group handling the show now have truly turned the corner and guiding the show back to where it was years ago. I can only see things getting better each year.

Phil Bernnard was show chairman this year and got the contracts out early and posted his show dates far in advance so as not to conflict with any other northeast shows.

Phil had a great group of folks working with him. Roy Topka and Meg Stevens are always on hand to help out the museum cause. Gary Moeller stayed at the museum so people traveling in could visit there as well. I was told the The Capital Region Bottle & Insulator Club stepped up its efforts to support the show. This hobby is built on people, not bottles. I realized years ago it is not what you collect that makes this hobby great. It is who you meet along the way. People who put on shows do it for the other people in the hobby.

I say this all the time, shows are the backbone of the hobby. Next time you go to a show, thank the people whose hard work make it a success. That small thanks is all they want.


The Saratoga show was the first at which I put out the FOHBC 2017 Springfield National promo cards. I put out about 100 cards and they were all gone by the end of the day. I am so looking forward to having another great national show in the northeast. People tell me all the time how much they enjoyed the FOHBC 2013 Manchester National Show. They clearly laid the tracks for Bob Strickhart and I to push forward a bigger show than has ever been held in the northeast. We are doing it for all of you and look forward to seeing you all there.

The No. 1 question I get about Springfield is when will the contracts be out? Bob, Ferdinand and I have them nearly ready and one week before the FOHBC 2016 Sacramento National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo they will available online. We will sell out fast so I would not wait. Booking rooms can be done online as well. Rooms have been selling for months already and to my knowledge this is the first time rooms are being booked over a year in advance.
They say pictures speak a thousand words so I have included some great shots of the Saratoga Show. See you there next year!

Jim Bender, FOHBC Historian


John Pastor and Mark Yates visit while John checks out an interesting bottle.


Roy Topka visits with Leo Goudreau and Sue O’Connell. Leo and Sue are seen at almost every northeast show. Way to go guys!


I was shown this rare mineral water that had just been dug. They believed it was a new find. I explained that the late Dick Watson had one.


Building 1 during setup.


Greg Bair sees me with the camera as Jim Berry checks out his bottles.


Jeff Burkhardt made the long drive from Wisconsin to support the show.


Lisa Daigle of Adirondack Copper and Glass, watches over the National Bottle Museum sales table. Lisa has been the glass studio director for the museum for the past five years.


Norm Heckler Jr. came ready for the rain!


John Rudzinski, President of the Capital District Bottle Club, mans his table.


Building 2 was well attended.


Auction house, American Glass Gallery was on hand to make a deal.


As always, Norm Heckler was at the show to support the museum.


No show is complete without Glass Works Auctions and Jim Hagenbuch.


Terry McMurray (McMurray Auctions) was also on hand. Four of the hobbies auction houses turned out to support the show. Great job guys!


I loved this wagon full of jugs. If I had a spot for it I would have bought it.


Long after all the dealers and crowds are gone the Volunteers are still busy cleaning up. Thank You both Roy and Phil for all your hard work and a great time I loved it.