Preview party  gives glimpse of treasures offered at Antiques in the Heart of Aiken

Marti Healy, Barry Doss and Shelly Marshall Schmidt unveil the 10th Anniversary commemorative "Antiques in the Heart of Aiken" book.

The crowds were shoulder to shoulder Thursday as the preview party for the 10th annual Antiques in the Heart of Aiken allowed a first glimpse of the many treasures awaiting at the show. The antiques show will be held at the Aiken Center for the Arts (ACA) today, Saturday and Sunday. The event began as a simple fund-raising idea 10 years ago. Becky Robbins and Barbara Sue Brodie were discussing potential ideas when the first event was conceived. "I looked at her (Brodie) and said, 'Do you think we could pull it off?' She said, 'Sure.'" said Robbins on Thursday night. "The first one is always the hardest; 95 percent of the vendors from the first year have come back for 10 years. The attendance is always amazing." Robbins has watched the event grow each year and has been directly involved from serving on the Board to volunteering and helping coordinate the Sweetheart Cafe. "It's a fabulous show. We try to have a cohesive group of vendors that are not repetitious and offer a nice, concise and varied show. It us a place to stay, shop, have lunch and enjoy homemade desserts from the Sweetheart Cafe," said Robbins. "In Aiken in February, it's a happening. It's the place to be." During the preview party, the "Antiques in the Heart of Aiken" 10th anniversary commemorative book, written by Marti Healy featuring photography by Shelly Marshall Schmidt, was unveiled. The book incorporates Aiken connections with individual categories of antiques. The 96-page, full-color, hard-bound coffee table book is available for $40 with all proceeds benefiting the ACA. Antiques in the Heart of Aiken is designed to offer items for everyone from estate jewelry and glassware to furniture and tools. The event draws dealers and collectors from all over the United States to participate in the three-day event. General admission to the antiques show is $8 for the three days. Show hours are today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Lunch will be served in the Sweetheart Cafe today and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. For more information on educational talks, visit or stop by the ACA at 122 Laurens St. S.W. Visit to view additional photos from the preview party.