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One of the biggest attractions at Kempenfest each year is the annual antique show. Each year members of the Optimist Club of Barrie host a show of Antiques, Vintage & Collectibles at the Centennial parking lot, and in 2024 the show promises to be the biggest and best yet!

Kempenfest Days of Music

Days of Music

Kempenfest Days of Art

Days of Art

Kempenfest KMs of Waterfront

KMs of Waterfront

Kempenfest Kids Village

Kids Village


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Growing the Optimist Antique, Vintage & Collectibles Show

“We’ve been involved since Molson Park as a food vendor,” said Club member and former antique show organizer, Maurice Keogh. “Back then it was corned beef from an army tent.” Around 18 years ago the Club added the Antique Show component to Kempenfest. Now the Optimist Antique, Vintage & Collectibles Show has grown over the years to attract 40 exhibitors from all over Ontario. While 30 are regulars to Kempenfest, each year brings a few new dealers.

“We don’t allow reproductions,” said Keogh. “It’s collector items – everything from jewelry to old water pumps, farm scales that have been made into coffee tables, harvest tables, blanket boxes, corner cupboards.” And there are lots of home-made toys too. The Optimist Antique Show also includes items such as old church windows that have been refurnished to incorporate mirrors, and the very collectible Pepsi, and beer signs. The Antiques Show is one of two major fundraisers for the Optimist Club annually which allows it to support various youth projects throughout the area.

In the past the CIub’s 30 members would each take four-hour shifts staffing the food booth during Kempenfest but we gave up on food a few years ago to focus solely on antiques. All of the funds raised from Kempenfest activities go to support local youth. The Optimist Club was responsible for starting minor soccer in this area, a sport which has grown to encompass tens of thousands of kids at the Barrie Soccer Club over the last 52 years.

Antiques item
Antiques item
The Optimist Club of Barrie has supported many projects over the years; Bowl for Kids Sake with the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Women & Children’s Centre; Youth Haven; The Seasons Centre for Grieving Children; Candlelighters Simcoe; Scouting; an Easter Egg Hunt; Bowling for Special Needs; Beginner Golf; Simcoe County Chess and many other projects over the last 50 plus years.

A few years ago the Optimist Club partnered with the City of Barrie in replacing playground equipment at Centennial Beach that gets a lot of use when the sun shines and especially during the busy, high traffic days of Kempenfest each year.

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