PALMETTO -- Browsers and buyers filled the Bradenton Area Convention Center for Friday's gala opening of the 48th annual Service Club Antique & Collectibles Show, which continues today and Sunday at the convention center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto.
Near the entrance was Eleanore E. Pagano at The Door Knocker booth. Pagano is one of the 56 vendors set up to sell crystal, jewelry, silver, china, furniture, coins and myriad other wares from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
But she is special. She will turn 90 on Nov. 15.
"I'm the oldest dealer in here," she says with a grin.
She and her husband, Russell, sold all kind of antique items at The Door Knocker at 1410 57th Ave. E. from 1969 until she closed it in 1998 after Russell had a stroke. He died in 1999. Now she sells art pottery, china and sterling silver flatware at the Feed Store Antique Mall on U.S. 301 and at this Service Club benefit.
"We named our business The Door Knocker because a hundred years ago in the Northeast, people would go door to door, offering to buy things from you," Pagano said. "They would buy an old rocker right off your porch and then resell it."
The Service Club of Manatee County is participating with the Vintage Garden booth, which is the first garden-themed booth created by the The Service Club, comprised of 36 local women who work all year to put on this show, which last year raised $95,000 for needy children in Manatee County.
"All the money goes to the children," said Marcia Wallace, president of the club.
This year, the club created a garden made of cast-off items, including vintage furniture, rustic crafts, delectable bird feeders made from tea cups, a wooden credenza with personality, tote bags, luminaries, cookbooks, hand towels, hand-painted pillows, original artwork and more.
Paula Hawkins, booth chairman, said one of her favorite pieces is a colorful bottle tree that has its roots in African culture. All the items are for sale.
The show also features a Community Haven room near the front doors of the convention center.
Marla Doss, director of Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities, was on hand to explain how clients have created vases and floral arrangements that are for sale to furnish equipment the nonprofit needs for severely handicapped persons.
The organization's 32-acre school was once way out in the country at 4405 DeSoto Road, Sarasota, but now it is close to the Target at University Parkway and Honore.
Throughout its 59 years, Community Haven has been assisted by the women of Service Club of Manatee, said Doss. "Without them, children would not be able to receive the critical care they need."
Entrance fee at the gate is $6.