FAIRBORN — Skyborn Skateland, Southwestern Cement Company, the Mercer Log House, and other Fairborn landmarks will collectively be at the Wingate hotel in Fairborn next month — at one-twelfth the size.
The Midwest Miniature Show features collectors and creatives who hand-craft miniature dollhouses, furniture, figurines, and even paintings at a fraction of their normal scale. The annual show will be from 4-7 p.m. on Aug. 13 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Fairborn, at 3055 Presidential Drive.
This year’s show thus far features 18 dealers and more than 40 tables of dollhouse hobbyists, who replicate everything from wooden furniture, perfume bottles, and paintings to electrical wiring, plumbing, doors, and windows.
Often, builders make their dollhouses from scratch, painstakingly carving wood, painting, or wallpapering the inside, decorating and making furniture, or making windows out of plexiglass. Helen Naughton, one of the event’s organizers, has even seen tiny kitchens complete with running water.
“You’d be amazed at what people can make today,” Naughton said. “I don’t know how they do it.”
Naughton, a Bath Township resident, makes tiny, delicate chandeliers out of three-millimeter Swarovski crystals. She said the practice kept her busy during the pandemic and was a source of calm and camaraderie.
“I would have been going crazy if I didn’t have this hobby,” she said.
Dealers come from as far as Florida to show off their miniatures. The Midwest Miniature Show began nearly 40 years ago as the 3 Blind Mice Show in Cincinnati. The show had 32 dealers in 2019 but was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Attendees will see exhibits by local miniature artisans at multiple scales. Most miniature creators work at a one-inch scale, where one foot is represented by one inch. Some, however, scale a foot to as small as a half-inch, quarter-inch or smaller.
Naughton’s first miniature project in the 1970s was to recreate her grandparents’ home using its original blueprints. She reduced the proportions to a half inch scale, making building materials out of plywood.
”Last year we were going to have a display of scale replicas of Fairborn landmarks to celebrate Fairborn’s 70th anniversary, but the show was canceled due to COVID,” Naughton said. “This year we decided to go ahead and have the display which will be in the board room of the hotel.”
The display was created by Naughton’s daughter Lori, who has spent over two years researching the buildings, and using old photos to build scale replicas of the Southwestern Cement Company, Armstrong’s, the Mercer Cabin, the barbershop at 5 points, and Skyborn Skateland.
“Fairborn has a unique history and we hope everyone will enjoy seeing the detailed work that goes into these buildings,” Naughton said.
The show will also highlight a half-inch scale dollhouse created by Linda Adams of Centerville.
”This beautiful house was Linda’s first attempt at miniatures and she did a fantastic job,” Naughton said. “We are proud to have this piece of art as part of our showcase.”
Despite the complexity of certain builds, the hobby does have a relatively low barrier to entry for novice miniaturists. Displays can be made out of shoeboxes and scrap material. Additionally, miniaturists love to share their knowledge, Naughton said.
The Fairborn miniatures will be on display free of charge. The rest of the Miniature Showcase will be in the banquet room of the hotel. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
For more information, visit https://www.midwest-miniatures.com/.