Case Appreciation Weekend Coming

W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company is a small-town competitor in an ever-swelling global economy. Situated in Bradford, Pennsylvania, a town of fewer than 10,000 people in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, the company is owned by Zippo Manufacturing Company, another Bradford-based icon, makers of the world famous Zippo lighter. A visit to their Zippo/Case Visitors Center and Museum will convince you that Bradford is to knife and lighter collecting what Nashville is to country music.

The Case Company began in 1889 in Little Valley, New York, located just across Pennsylvania’s northern border, the center of a turn-of-the-century boom in pocket knives that spawned dozens of America’s very first companies to market knives to consumers. Now, more than 119 years later, only W.R. Case & Sons is left standing, a testament to its products’ enduring quality and all-American workmanship. To celebrate the phenomenon that is Case, the company will be holding a Case Collector Appreciation weekend on its own grounds from July 18-19, 2008. Thanks to the growing popularity of knife collecting and a constantly evolving lineup of new offerings, Case has survived a recent growth period, hiring more artisans, expanding its authorized dealer network, and delivering its message of hope to beleaguered town squares across the highways and byways of small-town America. The company’s simple, yet timely message, encourages everyone to rekindle their enthusiasm for their hometowns by “Making a Case for America.” Case will be featuring a traveling interactive exhibit devoted to the campaign at the upcoming event, scheduled for July 18 and 19.

Hundreds of pocket knife enthusiasts from all walks of life are expected to attend, celebrating the rich history of this 119-year old company, sharing the stories behind their prized Case collectables and lauding the utilitarian aspects of Case products.

Bob Farquharson, a past Case President from Henrietta, Texas, and John R. Osborne, Jr., a local resident who worked as Vice President of Manufacturing at Case and is a great-great-nephew to the company’s founder, are among the VIP’s scheduled to appear.

Tom Wolfe, a professional whittler who specializes in character art, will demonstrate his creative talent using only a Case pocket knife and a small block of wood. Whittling hobbyists will be showcasing samples of their own artwork in the Carvings Displays Exhibit. An Apple Peelin’ Contest is scheduled for two rounds; one each on Friday and Saturday. The contestant able to draw the longest strand of unbroken peel from a single delicious apple with a Case knife will be declared champion.

Job Case, the patriarch of the Case family who was born in the mid-1800’s, was known for being a free thinker; a man ahead of his time. Job’s steely-eyed face, with his billowing white-haired beard and mustache, has been used on Case’s own product packages for many years. In honor of this notoriously famous icon, there will be a grand prize—a one-of-a-kind Grand Daddy Barlow knife— to the person who most closely reincarnates the Case family leader…so start growing those whiskers!

Of course, Case knives will be swapped almost continuously throughout the weekend. The Collector Knife Swap Tent will be filled with nearly 100 display tables, full of Case knives and stories from the people who love them.

Now would be a good time to look around for old Case knives you might have hidden from sight. Tony Foster, one of the foremost authorities on vintage Case knives, will be performing knife appraisals and sharing insights on serious knife collecting as part of the event’s “Tony’s Road Show” segments. Tony will be pointing out some of his more interesting finds to the public.

During the Swap Meet, Case Collectors Club members will be led through a Case factory tour to witness how Case knives are made and meet the people that have hand-crafted the most respected knife brand still made in America.

A silent auction will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, along with sales of chicken barbecue dinners, which will go on until sold out. A food court will offer a variety of menu choices throughout the event. Music and other entertainment will be ongoing.

The weekend frenzy will hit a fever pitch on Friday night with the start of the Case Collectors Live Auction, which will take place at 7:00 p.m. and feature several one-of-a-kind Case knives crafted by the company’s talented model makers, Mike DuBois and Paul Lipps. Scott King, Executive Vice President of Sales and a co-owner the J.P. King Auction Company of Gadsden, Alabama, will be the guest auctioneer. Bidding will be open to the public; pre-registration is required and will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m.

The gates will close to the public at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, but that’s not the end of the evening’s celebration. Bradford residents will line Main Street in preparation for a fireworks display, which will emblazon the skies above downtown Bradford at approximately 9:45 (weather permitting).

Appreciation Saturday will kick off with a special “200 Club” event for registered members of the Case Collectors Club only, accompanied by a homestyle breakfast bonanza that will be served to pre-registered guests only.

Tony Bose, a world-renowned custom knife maker from Shelburne, Indiana, will be on hand to demonstrate his craft to the public.

A Kid’s Corner will offer balloon animals, temporary tattoos, and arts and crafts activities to younger attendees. Other events include a Clinko game, pin trading, and a “Kids 4 Case” educational program. Drawings and games for prizes will be conducted throughout each day.

The Zippo/Case Museum will showcase exhibits of rare Case knives and Zippo lighters and offers a fun and interactive setting for educating the public about these two great American icons. Shirley Boser, Case Historian, will lead guided tours of the Museum at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday’s tour will be followed by a special celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the Zippo Car and Bradford’s premiere of the company’s new traveling history exhibit. Special collectibles will be available at the Zippo/Case Visitors Center, which will operate under an extended schedule throughout the weekend, including Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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