Thursday, June 8, 2023

Photos: Hundreds of vendors travel to Murfreesboro for 51st annual antique show


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Photos and story by Karly Cordell / MTSU Sidelines

Hundreds of vendors traveled from all over in hopes of showing off and selling their one-of-a-kind antiques at the 51st annual Murfreesboro Antique show held in the Middle Tennessee Expo Center on Friday.

Started by the Antique Dealers Association of Rutherford County, current show owner Betty Fuss participated herself before buying the show three years ago.

“Antique shows are like a big blast from the past,” Fuss said. “I knew the show was for sale, and I thought it would be a new adventure for me. So I decided to give it a try.”

Fuss was originally a registered nurse working at Vanderbilt in trauma critical care, but the cost of education for her four children is what got Fuss involved in antiques.

“I had three children all in school at one time,” Fuss said. “Although my husband made good money at the time, nurses did not.”

During the 1970s, Fuss was invited to a host sale and ended up purchasing $300 worth of rhinestone.

“I took it to the Nashville flea market,” Fuss said. “I made $500 and got to pay tuition for my children. That’s how my kids got educated.”

Being one of the oldest antique shows in the south, the Murfreesboro Antique Show had a great turnout with both vendors and shoppers.

“Once the word gets out about a show that’s 51 years old, it catches a lot of people’s attention,” Fuss said. “A show that old is rare, and there are very few of them left.”

Although a show owner, Fuss still participates in other antique shows elsewhere.

“Antiques are a never-ending learning process,” Fuss said. “No matter how long you’ve been in it, there’s always something to learn. Your wealth of knowledge just keeps growing and growing.”

Fuss’ favorite thing about antique shows are the conversations she has with the different people who walk in the door.

“I’m a very happy person, and I just really eat this happiness up,” Fuss said.

Vendor products at the show varied from antique glassware, porcelain dolls, rugs, paintings and jewelry. Fran Riddell, a vendor and jeweler from Canton, Mississippi, turns antique pieces such as brooches and pendants into custom-made jewelry.

Riddell started by using older pieces to make unique jewelry to give as gifts in her early 20s. She now uses her talent and sells her work at antique sells.

“So often we have family pieces of jewelry or bits of pieces that sit in the jewelry box and lay dormant for years and years,” Riddell said. “I call my jewelry the ‘Renaissance Collection.’ Because for me, the word ‘renaissance’ means rebirth and to breathe new life into an older piece.”

Riddell’s pieces range in age anywhere from the early 1800s to the 1970s.

“Years of studying and learning about antiques and knowing the difference between the pieces is very important,” Riddell said.

The 51st Annual Murfreesboro Antique Show continued on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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