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Show’s road leads right to Spokane

Dig out Grandpa’s collection of military items. Open Grandma’s cedar chest and pull out that antique quilt. Take that old painting off the wall.

The “Antiques Roadshow” is coming to town.

The public television show brings in dozens of professional appraisers and allows thousands of hopeful attendees to have items appraised and possibly, after initial triage and an interview with an appraiser, be taped for the show.

Producers announced Tuesday that Spokane will be one of the stops on the “Antiques Roadshow” 2007 tour. The event will take place Aug. 4.

Winning a place on the tour is good news for antique lovers, but also good news for the city of Spokane.

As host city, Spokane will make a cameo appearance on the program. And cash registers here are sure to ring up sales from folks who’ll truck their treasures to town from far-flung locations.

“On average, roughly 20 percent of the 6,000 ‘Antiques Roadshow’ guests travel over 100 miles to come to our events, often staying in hotels and enjoying the other attractions of the city,” said publicist Judy Matthews.

While the expanded Spokane Convention Center was not directly cited as the reason the city was chosen, it seems to have played a part.

“I’ll be honest, what tipped the decision for Spokane was that we’ve never been there,” said Marsha Bemko, executive producer of the show. “But we also had to have the right space. No other city between Bismarck, N.D., and Spokane had a civic center big enough to accommodate the roadshow.”

In 2007, the show will also stop in Baltimore, Orlando, Fla., San Antonio and Louisville, Ky.

KSPS-TV, the local PBS affiliate, also expects to enjoy a bump from a visit by the most-watched show on public television.

“Anytime we have a national program coming to our local marketplace, it stimulates interest and viewership,” said General Manager Claude Kistler.

During the 12-hour taping session, much of the hands-on labor will be handled by as many as 100 KSPS volunteers

“We rely on the stations to provide the volunteers,” Bemko said. “And, frankly, we work them. They are there from start to finish.”

Tickets are free but must be requested before the show. Then, in the weeks before the taping, the names of people receiving tickets are drawn using a lottery.

For those who have heavy pieces of furniture and live within 50 miles of Spokane, there is a possibility that producers will pay to have the piece shipped to the event.

“Pictures and descriptions of the pieces can be sent by mail or e-mail,” Matthews said. “If your furniture is chosen to be appraised, we’ll pay to have it brought to the show.”

Instructions for submitting furniture for consideration can be found on the “Antiques Roadshow” Web site.

Bemko says it’s important to remember that you don’t have to make it onto the show to enjoy the process. While waiting, ticket holders are able to watch as those with rare or unusual items are filmed.

“The odds of being taped are low, with 10,000 to 12,000 objects coming through,” she said. “So we want make sure everyone has a good time whether they get on air or not.”