Couldn’t find much of importance on this date in military history which is a good thing, because it would have been usurped by an important local announcement.
The long-awaited and always enjoyable annual Leavenworth Militaria Show and Sale is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the gymnasium of the Riverfront Community Center. The show has been downtown or at the fort for more than 30 years, having skipped only one or two years.
Again, as for many years, it is being run by Dr. Jerold “Jerry” Brown, longtime history instructor at CGSC. In fact, he is the longest tenured history instructor, and may be the senior of all instructors. Always kind of nice when a history teacher runs a military show.
The show has long been a family affair. Wife Shirley accepts attendees’ $3 donation, unless the attendee is a WW II or Korean War veteran, and the donation is waived. With the demise of so many WW II vets, one of these days Brown will have to include Vietnam vets in the “donation waived” category. It was always an enjoyable part of the show when WW II vets showed up, including a couple in uniform. It added a lot to the ambiance of the show that had dealer tables with lots of items from the old vets’ war or wars.
Back to the family affair aspect. Son Trevor, a proud fellow graduate of the Leavenworth Sheriff’s Office first-annual Citizens Academy two years ago, is the chief and only cook. He specializes in “New Zealand” hot dogs, and I anxiously await a couple of those before every show. And if he reads this, a reminder not to forget the onions. What is a New Zealand hot dog without onions?
There is plenty of free parking in the vicinity of the RCC and all other amenities are available at the RCC.
What can one find at an 80-table show, which Brown shoots for each year? Can’t answer that question until all sellers put their wares on their tables as no one but each individual seller knows what he will bring. At past shows there have not been many military artifacts from wars earlier than the Civil War, but almost all shows have at least a few Civil War artifacts. For book lovers there are always books. Lots and lots of books.
At a few shows there have been re-enactors wearing uniforms from past conflicts. Since there will likely be few veterans wearing their well-worn aging military uniforms, replica uniforms are a fine substitute to add color and elan to the show. The modern wearers are always happy to answer questions about the country and war they replicate, and I’ve always been impressed by their knowledge.
Prices of course are whatever the seller and potential buyer agree to. I’ve gotten some real bargains in the past from sellers who do not want to drag home all they brought with them. I’ve found when the prices are closer to realistic, the items sell faster. And vice versa.
Those who have been to past shows need no more details of what to expect. In the words of Jim McCuff of Shawnee, Kansas, president of the American Society of Military Insignia Collectors, “The Leavenworth show is among the very best organized and run small shows in the U.S.” McCuff should know, as he goes to most of them.
John Reichley is a retired Army officer and Department of the Army civilian employee.