Antiques & Treasures in the Field, the annual antique sale benefiting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, may take place on the same day every year—the first Sunday after Labor Day—but event co-chair Jean Sullivan still marks her calendar. “I’ve lived in Lake Forest for about 20 years, and the antique show has always been one of my favorite events in town that I’ve attended every single year,” she says. “Some of my favorite things in my home are from the antique show.”
It was during her time selling raffle tickets at last year’s event that Sullivan met Jill Marquart, a fellow Lake Forest resident and longtime fan of the fundraiser. Together they are co-chairing the 48th annual event, which will raise money for the Infant Welfare Society (IWS), a Chicago health clinic that provides medical services to women and children. The two have been working closely since January to put on this September’s rendition, which will showcase a variety of wares, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, and prints, from vendors based throughout the Midwest.
“This area is filled with fantastic shoppers, and they just love to see if they can come and find a unique treasure,” says Marquart. “We’re hoping to keep that theme going this year, while adding in some new dealers, as well.” Those dealers include artisans in the city, whom Marquart and Sullivan are attempting to recruit via social media and referrals from other markets. “We’re hoping these new vendors will entice younger buyers to shop for antiques and find something fun for their homes,” explains Marquart. The women are also planning to feature artisans who specialize in repurposing vintage items, such as jewelry and furniture, into completely different items—while also sharing tips with customers on how to do so.
While the entire inventory will be sourced within Illinois and surrounding states, guests can look forward to particularly local goods thanks to community donations in the Treasures Tent, where 100 percent of proceeds from items like dressers, dining room tables, fine crystal, and China will go to the IWS. Shop owners also help the cause, including Anna Schuster, a longtime IWS member, who donates merchandise from her Highwood business Anna’s Warehouse and Marketplace.
Besides the Showhouse & Gardens event that the IWS hosts every other year, Antiques & Treasures in the Field is the biggest fundraiser for the Logan Square-based clinic. “The antique sale is one of the best events we have,” says Sarah Georgi, president of the Lake Forest IWS chapter. “It gets the community together, it builds our board, and it does wonderful work for the Infant Welfare Society, as a whole, because we send a generous amount of money to the clinic.”
Beyond the Treasures Tent, that money will come from a variety of ways, including the entrance fee, vendor booth fee, concessions stands and bake sale, and raffle tickets, which will be sold individually ($5) or in sets of three ($10) and seven ($20) through the event. A first and second place winner will be contacted via e-mail by the end of the day on September 13 and will receive $500 (donated by Takeda Pharmaceuticals) and $250, respectively. Those raffle tickets contributed to event proceeds of more than $35,000 last year, and the organizers hope to pull in even more this year to support the increasing needs of the IWS.
“The amount of people that are coming to the clinic is growing year by year, and the services are really outstanding,” explains Georgi. “What we do is important.”
That, coupled with the event’s highly curated talent and but once a year frequency, prove that this day will provide much more than could your average shopping outing. “There are a lot of us hoping to find some special piece for our homes,” says Sullivan. “I think people have learned that it’s not about just filling your house full of antiques, but about finding special little pieces, like a bench for your mudroom or the perfect shelf for one of your kids’ rooms or little things you collect, like antique jewelry. It’s always such a fun day.”
Antiques & Treasures in the Field will take place on September 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Deerpath Middle School in Lake Forest, lakeforestantiquesale.com.
– By Nicole Schnitzler // Illustration by Kirsten Ulve