Back in November a wave of excitement was felt in Owego as the crew of the hit television show “American Pickers” visited a few prime antique and picking spots, notably Old Souls Home and the Early Owego Antique Center in Owego, as well as 2nd Time Around Restorations in Apalachin.
“American Pickers,” and as seen on the History Channel, has been hitting the back roads from coast-to-coast since its premier in 2010, and where pickers scour the country for hidden gems. As described on their website, they meet some quirky characters along the way, hear amazing stories, and share a little American history, too.
Jim Mead, owner of the Early Owego Antique Center (EOAC), has known Picker “Jersey” Jon Szalay, for several years. Mead took a call from Jon on Nov. 13, and learned that Jon, along with Picker Mike Wolfe, would be rolling into Owego that day. They prefer to “keep it real” and not give notice.
Community members who happened to be in the Village that day expressed their enthusiasm by snapping photos of the Pickers “Antique Archaeology” truck parked in the Court Street lot, and others were excited to see the Pickers out on the street. Soon after, the entire community caught the buzz about “guess who came to town?”
And now, several months later, it’s finally time to see the episode.
Owego’s own Chris Knickerbocker is featured on the American Pickers episode, which is set to air on July 12 at 9 p.m.
A Watch Party is planned for the premier, and will be held at the Ti-Ahwaga Community Players theatre, located at 42 Delphine St. in Owego. Doors open at 8 p.m. This is a free of charge, general admission event with seating for 156 guests. Contests with prizes are planned. A donation jar will be set out for anyone wishing to donate to the Ti-Ahwaga Players.
Event organizers shared that guests should arrive on time for the 9 p.m. start of the show so they do not miss Chris Knickerbocker’s appearance, and since the timing of that portion of the episode is unknown.
Knickerbocker, and referred to as #KnickerPicker on the Watch Party announcement, is the owner and operator of Old Souls Home, where reincarnated art and décor is created, some with a nostalgic twist. As she describes, “Designs using whatnots, castoffs and whatever else.”
Knickerbocker said she is pleased to have had the experience, and was genuinely excited to have been able to showcase Owego for the “American Pickers” episode.
It all started in early 2022 after she submitted a “call for shows,” and after following up with more information about her property and information about Owego the show’s producers eventually contacted her about a visit.
So, Knickerbocker did have a little heads-up about when the Pickers would be stopping by.
Knickerbocker remarked, “The entire crew loved Owego, and couldn’t stop saying enough about it,” and further explained that there were about 17 people total who arrived in multiple vehicles to film the all-day event.
Although Knickerbocker does not know what footage will be used for the episode, she did share that she took Wolfe on a tour of her entire building located at 42 Lake St. in Owego, and which included her studio and basement.
Knickerbocker hopes that the O-We-Go cycle car history, as well as a discussion about the museum’s Monarch motorcycle will make it into the show, since, she said, “Mike has a love of motorcycles, and he has a Monarch.”
And, with every “American Pickers” episode, the stars negotiate purchases, and Knickerbocker said, “It was fun to learn that Mike and I collect a lot of the same things,” however she cannot share what Wolfe purchased from her; everyone will learn that at show time.
Whether or not, too, a clip of Mike Wolfe showing off his athletic ability on Knickerbocker’s exercise pole made it into the episode or on the cutting room floor is unknown, that’s also a wait-and-see.
For Mead, welcoming the Pickers team in November was a real treat, and he enjoyed the conversation. Mead shared that Jon had made a few purchases at EOAC, and one in particular was a motorcycle riding kidney belt.
Mead remarked, “I’m excited to see the American Pickers episode, and it will be unique to see my old friend, Jon Szalay, in that context.”