It's 'Destination Red Wing' time
By Ruth Nerhaugen, contributor
Red Wing pottery and stoneware collectors are all over Red Wing, as many arrived early for the July 10-12 convention so they can shop antique stores, yard sales, parking lots and flea markets for their favorite Red Wing-made items.
“Destination Red Wing” is the theme for the 38th annual Red Wing Collectors Society convention. Headquarters again this year is Red Wing High School.
Each year the organization comes up with new and entertaining ways to encourage local residents to join them in celebrating Red Wing’s rich pottery history, according to Stacy Wegner, RWCS executive director.
First of those community events this year will be the official opening of the Pottery Museum of Red Wing at 5:45 p.m. July 9. The museum is in the former Pottery Place Annex off Old West Main Street.
Immediately following the ribbon-cutting will be the annual “Wine-ing for Red Wing” party, a fundraiser for the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the museum parking lot.
People who attend will be invited to purchase a wine glass or a beer stein bearing the foundation logo. This will serve as admission to the food and beverage service provided by the St. James Hotel and West End Liquor.
Everyone will have an opportunity bid on pottery, collectibles and experiences at silent and oral auctions during the party. Among special items will be some custom-designed stoneware and some plates decorated by local women who once painted for Red Wing Pottery, along with tickets to Packers and Vikings games.
Highlight the convention’s opening day is the unveiling of the annual commemorative, a miniature of a piece made by the local potteries back during the industry’s heyday. Only RWCS members can purchase them at the convention.
During the afternoon, collectors will converge on the Goodhue County Historical Society for tours of the museum’s vaults. A members-only auction is held Thursday evening.
Friday of convention week is education day, with seminars and activities for members of all ages.
The next big public event, Crock Fest, will run 5 to 9 p.m. Friday in Central Park. It’s sponsored this year by Red Wing Pottery and Red Wing Stoneware Co., which recently were reunited under the ownership of Bruce and Irene Johnson.
The Johnsons have created two limited edition, numbered and signed crocks that they will sell at the Crock Fest. The company made 50 elephant ears in zinc glaze and 50 in salt glaze; all are marked Crock Fest 2014. The crocks are “slightly scaled down” in size, Bruce Johnson said.
Admission is free, but people also will be able to purchase food and beverages from vendors.
Musical entertainment will be provided throughout the evening by Generation, a band based in Goodhue. The five-piece group performs mostly country songs for all generations plus some classic rock tunes.
Singing tunes from artists including Johnny Cash, George Strait and Garth Brooks will be Shannon Harrell, lead vocals and guitar; Gary Lee, vocals and lead guitar; Kevin Barnes, vocals and bass guitar; Brad Issendorf, pedal steel guitar; and John Sweigart, drums.
Other special features at Crock Fest will include a Goodhue County Historical Society table display of Fred Johnson’s new “Sea Wing Disaster” book; a table where people can join the collectors society and purchase this year’s commemorative; and free mini-chair massages by Essential Chiropractic.
Bring your own lawn chair or blanket, Wegner advised. Supporting partner for the Crock Fest is the Red Wing Arts Association.
Show & Sale
Saturday’s public event is the annual Show & Sale in the Red Wing High School gym. The community can join members at the sale from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
While at the high school, people also are welcome to check out displays of special collections and rare items.
Throughout the week, the public also is invited to participate in a Crock Hunt. Photos of Red Wing pieces will be posted on the Website erwcs.org and pictured on the back page of the Republican Eagle convention supplement in Wednesday’s newspaper. People who find the stores where those items are located have a chance to win a 2014 commemorative and a 2015 membership.
People can join the collectors society and purchase a commemorative at any time, including during the convention, Wegner noted. Call her at 651-388-4004 or go online to erwcs.org.
Free to enjoy... Red Wing Pottery
What: Crock Fest
When: 5-9 p.m. July 11
Where: Central Park
More info: 651-388-4004 or erwcs.org