FREDERICKTOWN — Steeped in tradition, the annual Plate Auction held at the Fredericktown Tomato Show draws large crowds of competitive bidders each year, as 10 plates bearing an artist’s rendering of a different Fredericktown landmark each year are auctioned to support the festival.
This year, while familiar faces who support the festival each year again took home the keepsake plates, two families with ties to the Trio Lanes Bowling Alley featured on the 2010 plate made winning bids on the limited edition plates.
The bowling alley is an important part of Fredericktown history according to the director in charge of the plate auction, Julie Chester.
“This is the 50th anniversary of the bowling alley,” Chester said before the spirited auction got under way.
The bowling alley was named Trio Lanes because three men co-owned the business when it opened its doors in 1958.
Jeff and Kathy Toms, son and daughter-in-law of Ed Toms, one of the three original owners, bought the second plate auctioned Saturday evening.
Shaun and Melinda Stephen, who own the landmark with Greg Frazier, bought plate No. 9.
Dean Shira, who with his wife, Linda, have purchased a plate each of the 24 years one has been auctioned, was at the plate auction Saturday night and explained its history.
“My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have a cabin up at Lakeside, and they had a painting of the lighthouse at Marblehead,” Shira explained.
Shira said he enjoyed the artist’s work, and decided to seek out the artist.
“We were building a new bandstand so I got a hold of a picture of the old bandstand and had her paint it on 10 plates for $20 a piece,” he said.
Shira said at the time, the Fredericktown Board of Directors were concerned they may not make back the $200 they spent having the plates painted, at the auction.