'American Pickers' star Fritz to go antique hunting in Paxton area

PAXTON — Robin McNish promises that Frank Fritz won’t leave Paxton empty-handed when the co-host of History Channel’s “American Pickers” looks for “rusty gold” around the Ford County seat next month.

“I have a special present for Frank that’s being worked on by two professionals as we speak,” said McNish, who owns three antique shops in downtown Paxton. “It’s a surprise. I know he will love it.”

Fritz is visiting McNish’s shops on Saturday, Sept. 27, and he and McNish also will go “picking” together that day.

That’s the prize that McNish won last November through the “Pick with Frank Fritz” contest sponsored by Workshop Hero, the maker of Metal Rescue Rust Remover Bath and Dry Coat for which Fritz is a celebrity spokesman.

The original plan was for McNish to fly or drive to the Savanna, Ill., area to go antique hunting over a three-day period with Fritz. But with Fritz now planning to visit Paxton, McNish is expecting to be “picking” closer to home.

A recent post on the Workshop Hero Facebook page serves as confirmation. The July 29 message, which includes a photo of Paxton, seeks out antique collectors in the Paxton area who would like Fritz to “pick their place” during his visit to Ford County.

“I feel very honored they’ve decided to come to see my shop and visit Paxton — although I will be losing a three-day vacation,” McNish joked.

Workshop Hero is asking anyone who owns or knows someone with “a ton of rusty gold” to post a comment on its Facebook page with a description of their place and include a photo or two of their antique offerings. Only locations within 50 miles of Paxton will be considered. Fritz will select three finalists, and then fans of the Workshop Hero Facebook page will vote on which one Fritz visits.

Fritz and his “American Pickers” co-star, Mike Wolfe, already know about the antique treasures in Ford County. Gibson City resident Ray “Beetle” Leisure was featured on their show last summer, and he wouldn’t mind them coming back.

“Come right ahead, Frank, you know where we live in Gibson City,” Royce Ann Weachter Leisure commented on the Workshop Hero Facebook page. “It has been two years since you’ve been here. I know there is more gold around here that’s new. ... (and) I know Robin wants to pick Ray’s stashes.”

McNish said that Workshop Hero wants to make Fritz’s visit to Paxton a “nice, big event for my shop and Paxton.” With that in mind, McNish hopes to organize an antique car show downtown that day, and she plans to invite three bands to perform. She has also invited monster truck driver Tom Meents to make an appearance. She said the Tin Pan restaurant will be catering the event. She also hopes there will be a “draggin’ Main” car cruise that day.

Anyone with ideas for the event is encouraged to call McNish at 722-9125.

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