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This rare 30-gallon salt glaze butterfly crock with "Red Wing Stoneware Co." stenciled in cobalt is one of the many great pieces expected to be up for grabs at this year's Red Wing Collectors Society Convention members-only auction at 4:30 p.m. Thursday July 12 at Red Wing High School. To see more pieces submitted by members for this year's auction, visit the "Annual Convention" tab on the Events/Annual Convention page of the RWCS website at www.redwingcollectors.org.

Red Wing pottery collectors celebrate 35 years in Red Wing

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To celebrate their 35th anniversary, Red Wing Collectors Society members are opening several convention activities to the public and planning new events that everyone is invited to attend.

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The convention will be July 12-14, with headquarters at Red Wing High School. Public events will include:

• A wine and cheese social 6 to 10 p.m. July 11 at the Pottery Place Mall parking lot with fundraising activities for the new Pottery Museum.

• The keynote address at 10:30 a.m. July 12 at the high school by Hannes Kuehn, former Red Wing Potteries designer/modeler, followed by a 35th anniversary balloon release.

• Burial of the 35th anniversary time capsule at 8:30 a.m. July 13 at the North Star Monument on Old West Main Street.

• Crockfest from 5 to 9 p.m. July 13 in Central Park with food, fun and live music by The Cruisers.

• The annual Show and Sale at 10:30 a.m. July 14 plus displays starting at 8 a.m., all at the high school.

Pottery collectors will be in town all week. Many come early to search for collectibles at antique shops, garage sales, auctions and local vendors who set up tables in the Pottery Place parking lot. Early registration takes place there July 11, which has been declared Foundation Day.

Progress toward acquiring the Pottery Annex building and moving the Pottery Museum across the parking lot to that site is an important element of this year's convention. The collection is now housed on the second floor of Pottery Place Mall.

The RWCS Foundation and Red Wing Area Seniors are jointly purchasing the building. The foundation will hold its fundraiser, including silent and live auctions, in a tent just outside the new museum site. Collectors from around the country are bringing wines and cheeses for the tasting.

Depending on the status of the purchase, tours may be available. Designs and plans will be on display.

Thursday is opening day at Red Wing High School, starting with a members-only breakfast honoring charter members. Kuehn will speak at 10:30 a.m.

Activities for RWCS members will include the unveiling of the annual commemorative at 8 a.m., pottery demonstrations by Richard Spiller, educational sessions, displays of rare items, and programs for children and young collectors. The official members-only auction will start at 4:30 p.m. at the high school.

Membership opportunities will be available for anyone who wants to join during the convention. Cost is $25 for a primary membership and $10 for an associate membership.

Anyone who joins during convention week can attend for the preregistration convention price and purchase a commemorative at the high school. People who cannot attend the convention can join online at www.RedWingCollectors.org and have their commemoratives mailed to them.

Friday will start off with the public time capsule event at 1811 Old W. Main St.

A full schedule of members-only educational seminars will get under way at the school, where lunch will be a "pig-pickin' birthday party." Hanisch Bakery has a special cake in store to help RWCS members celebrate their anniversary.

New this year, CrockFest will feature activities for all ages such as face painting and clay modeling. The Cruisers will perform in the Central Park Band Shell and food will be available.

The convention finale is the annual Show and Sale in the high school gym. Members will be admitted at 9 a.m., and the general public can check out the merchandise at 10:30 a.m. Display rooms will be open to everyone at 8 a.m.

The event concludes at 1:30 p.m. Members will reconvene for their annual banquet at 5:30 p.m. at Provenzano's Ristorante in the Pottery Annex, where there will be a presentation on the Pottery Museum.

For more information or to sign up, contact Executive Director Stacy Wegner at 800-977-7927 or 651-388-4004; e-mail membership@redwingcollectors.org; or go online to www.redwingcollectors.org.

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