Lead appraiser Jody Bennett discusses an item as volunteer Ray Heinemann shows it to the crowd during last year’s Southwest Kansas Antiques Appraisal Fair.

    The Southwest Kansas Antiques Appraisal Fair, normally conducted each March in Garden City, will take a break until 2022.

The ninth annual event, originally set for March 13 of 2021 at the Finney County 4-H Building, has been called off due to COVID-related facility scheduling conflicts.  Use of the location, booked by the Finney County Historical Society, has been preempted for public health purposes related to the pandemic.

    “We explored other possible dates and different locations, as well as consulting with our team of volunteer appraisers, but none of the alternatives were suitable,” said Rhonda Stone, a member of the FCHS Board of Directors who leads the annual event.  “It became obvious that the best course of action was simply to set our sights on next year.”

    Stone noted that the historical society had originally planned to proceed with the gathering while requiring masks and employing a series of careful social distancing protocols.  With one exception, the event has taken place each year since 2012.  Often compared to the “Antiques Road Show” program on PBS, the all-day show offers a chance for participants to bring heirlooms and keepsakes to be shown and evaluated before a live audience.

    In addition to celebrating history through actual artifacts, the appraisal fair serves each year as an important fund-raising event for the Finney County Historical Museum.  Executive Director Steve Quakenbush said the organization would have to rely on other means of support this year, and credited the intentions of several potential appraisal fair sponsors.  A few, he added, have directed the historical society to keep their sponsorship contributions anyway.

    The 2022 gathering has already been scheduled for next March 12.  Sponsors, past participants, FCHS members and volunteers were recently notified of the cancellation by mail.