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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Reichley: Show's future hinges on upcoming event

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  • This is it, dear readers, the third and final, as far as this column is concerned, notice about an event in Leavenworth that is about as rare as Haley’s Comet passing overhead.
    The organized among you have had your calendar marked for weeks.  
    For the other 99 percent of you, the event is next Saturday,  March 8. That's the date of the second Collectors Day in downtown Leavenworth.
    It will be in the gym of the Riverfront Community Center from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It is open to one and all. And, in the current economy, the best thing about it is that it is free to one and all. Nary a dime will you have to spend to park or enter the gym to look at and enjoy 40 tables filled with military memorabilia from a myriad of countries and a myriad of wars.
    The displayers are all members of the Kansas City Military Collectors Club that encompasses all suburbs of Kansas City, west as far as Topeka, Lawrence, Leavenworth, St. Joseph, and a few little places way out in the boondocks.
    The club’s 66 members all love military history. Each collects whatever artifacts he desires, from whatever wars and countries he desires.
    This display show is part of the club’s outreach, as outlined in its recruiting brochure: “To further the understanding and appreciation of militaria through meetings, displays, and shows.”
    The club began in 1993 when some kindred spirits in the KC area who saw each other at gun shows in the area decided to meet formally once a month. The idea for a display show occurred in 2004, and for eight years club members held an all-day display show inside the National World War I Museum.
    Two years ago, the museum leadership changed, and in an email to the club coordinator, the acting CEO ended the show at the museum.
    Members fanned out all over the metro area looking for a suitable site for the ninth annual show, and it was found at the Heritage Center in Leavenworth. It was a superb event, according to those I talked to who attended.
    The problem was that rather than 500-600 who attended at the WWI museum annualy, only 123 were “clicked in” by the official club clicker. Not good at all for residents of the area of one of the most historic and famous of all U.S. military forts.
    It was listed in the Convention and Visitors Bureau calendar, as it is this year, and was in the Leavenworth Times five times, twice on the front page. Unfortunately that did nothing to up the number of attendees.
    This year, social media avenues were tried in hopes of reaching more people. But, sadly, if by 4 p.m. on March 8 no more than 150 people show up to see this once-in-a-lifetime display of private artifacts, there will be no third Collectors Show in historic Leavenworth.
    Page 2 of 2 - So, readers in Leavenworth, I implore you to spread the word far and wide. Why every member of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters would not go is beyond me to comprehend. Same with every ROTC cadet in the area, and certainly every Command and General Staff College student.
    Sure, everyone is always busy, but so are club members who prepare and present the displays. Over the years, members estimate each spent about eight hours preparing for the display, to include returning artifacts to where they are normally stored the other 364 days of the year.
    So I hope to see many local citizens taking advantage of this free opportunity, to go downtown to see an event in its second year in the most historic city in the state.

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