The Bradford Zippo Lighter Club swap meet sparked an interest for many collectors, as this year’s event was one of the largest, according to Ron Orris.
The event was held alongside the “Star Spangled Celebration” Saturday at the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center.
Orris, who founded the Bradford Zippo Lighter Club, said this year’s turnout was fantastic.
“This is the 16th year of this swap meet. In prior years it was under the name of the Great Lakes Lighter Club but this year we changed it to the Bradford Zippo Lighter Club,” Orris told The Era. “This is probably the most successful year; we have more people than we’ve ever had.”
He explained the goal was to bring in 200-300 people but said he estimated that goal had been surpassed only a few hours into the event. The swap meet attracted not only local vendors, but vendors across the country and even from foreign land.
“We have a couple vendors from Canada too,” Orris said.
For the “Star Spangled Celebration,” The American Caroling Co. from Buffalo, N.Y., performed patriotic songs in the main lobby. Their performance was made possible by support from the Blaisdell Foundation.
Among those who made their way to the Marilyn Horne Museum were Tom and Rebecca Speziale.
Tom Speziale, who goes by the name of “Tommy Zippo,” said he doesn’t search for any specific lighter design, but said he appreciates all Zippo lighters.
“I fell in love with the Zippo lighter story and the whole history,” Speziale said, explaining that it was the story that comes with the famous Zippo lighter that sparked his interest in collecting the lighters.
He added that he really likes the rare and unique lighters, especially military lighters.
Speziale, who said he loves the Zippo/Case Museum, told The Era that Rebecca, his wife, didn’t have much of an interest in collecting Zippo lighters until the couple made a visit to the Zippo/Case Museum.
Much like her husband, Rebecca Speziale also became hooked on the stories and history behind Zippo lighters.