For many years when I lived in Ohio, I used to drive from the Cleveland area down to Mansfield for the annual Civil War show at the Richland County Fairgrounds. I made the drive back a couple of times after I moved to York, PA, as my father still lived in SE Ohio and one of my sons was in college not far from Mansfield at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. This year marks the 31st Annual Ohio Civil War Collectors Show and 16th Annual Artillery show.
For those of you who live in the Midwest, this is an excellent show that you have to see at least once to appreciate. It sprawls across multiple fair buildings, and features antiques, ACW relics and artifacts, photographs, letters, diaries, vintage and modern books, autographs, and many other goodies too numerous to mention. I have some great memories of my Dad and I tramping around the fairgrounds, watching the artillery demonstrations, listening to my favorite musical group (the 2nd Carolina String Band), and perusing the thousands of items for sale.
This year’s show is May 3 and 4 in Mansfield, Ohio, at the Richland County Fairgrounds (located on U.S. Route 30 with easy access from I-71 between Columbus and Cleveland. Take the Trible Road exit; the fairgrounds is at 750 North Home Road). More than 100 of the finest ACW dealers in the USA will be present exhibiting and selling their wares.
Among the many arms and relics dealers scheduled to be present this year are Shiloh Civil War Relics, The Union Drummer Boy, Steven L. Hoskins Autographs, Middle Tennessee Civil War Relics, Sharpsburg Arsenal, College Hill Arsenal, Michael Simens, and Al Duquette’s Antique Arms. In additions, there are book vendors, reenactors supply sutlers (such as The Regimental Quartermaster), and period musical instrument dealers.
For toy soldier collectors, there are several options, including the Michigan Toy Soldier Company, which will be selling a number of really neat playsets (pricey, but very good for kids and grandkids!).
One of my favorite things is the opportunity to meet many well known historical writers who are there to sign their books. Among the featured guests this year is Sandy Barnard, one of the leading experts on Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn. I have all of his books.