Friday, June 17, 2011

American Pickers Festival LeClaire, Iowa

I headed up to Leclaire,Iowa for the 2nd Annual American Pickers Festival June 4-5th and had a stroke of good luck. We got in town, and ran by our hotel around 5 p.m. and then decided head over to Antique Archeology and check out the shop. Well the shop was closed but the garage door was open and we were just wandering around snapping some photos when Mike Wolfe pulls in in the new Pickers van. Mike immediately jumped out and greeted us with a "Hey, how you doin" and jumped right into a conversation about where we were from (Effingham,Il.), where he had been (picking in Nashville,Tn.) and opening a new shop & my Oxford,Ms. shirt I was wearing. Seems we both love Ole Miss ! Mike told us we were welcome to look around, and he and his nephew Adam began loading T-shirts into the van. Well, I felt kinda bad just watching and told Mike so, who immediately said "well start grabbing boxes". I spent the next half hour working with the Pickers, which I found pretty cool and my wife found pretty funny (taking a picture to prove I was working). Yeah hilarious. It wasn't long before Danielle came out and Mikes brother dropped by and a couple of appraisers from the show. Mike and Danielle were gracious and took pictures with us and proved to be the same down to earth people you see on the show. No acting here, just downhome folk. I was probably ready to go home then, my dream fulfilled, but of course we hung around and stayed for the Festival and checked out LeClaire. We ate at Wise Guys Pizza, caught the city book sale, attended the antique car show and hit several of the city wide garage sales. The best part of Sat. was the Q & A with Mike and Danielle up on the levee. Mikes Mother, Judy Gimbel, the clowns, and Danielle's Dad were in attendance as well. The one thing Mike & I share and the one thing that always draws me in like a moth to a flame is "PASSION" ! Mike is very passionate about what he does and has since an early age. It was also cool to hear how much he gives back to the community and charity as well. It seems Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are very generous men. The Laurel & Hardy heads pictured above have been donated to St. Judes to be auctioned off (amongst other items). Mike is also working on a couple new projects including "Kid Pickers" books & website to educate kids on the importance of preserving our history. When the Q & A was over both Mike and Danielle stayed around in the 95 degree heat signing autographs. We left Iowa totally fufilled, and looking forward to coming back to see Frank in the years ahead. And, someday I just might be willing to let loose of some of my collection to the coolest Pickers around.