MANCHESTER CENTER, VT. — People get into a rut, which is not a bad thing, and for years faithfully traveled to Vermont during the early part of July to attend either the Dorset Flea Market on the town’s village square, or on alternating years to the market on the grounds of Hildene, the Lincoln family home, in Manchester Center. Both markets were originally run by the late Betty Forbes and Fran Phipps, and later by Linda Turner.
Happily, that rut is now back and open for a new show, the Summer Antique Show in Manchester Center, just down the road or up the road, as the case may be, under the management of Phyllis Carlson and Tim Stevenson. “The show went very well, we were very pleased, and all of the dealers we spoke to at the end of the day indicated that they would be back next year,” Tim said.
The show will remain at the same time of the year — this year it was Saturday, July 13, 10 am to 4 pm — and it will continue at the same convenient location, “On The Green” at Riley Rink, Hunter Park, just off Route 7A in the northern part of the town. It proved to be an ideal location for this 49-dealer show — actually, there were 48 dealers as David Ramsay had car trouble and did not make it there —with dealers parking on the blacktop parking lot and unloading and showing on the grass area in front of the rink.
“We hope to enlarge the show next year and there is still more room on the green, as well as a paved adjoining area that will take another tent,” Tim said. This year management furnished two large tents with room for 12 dealers to set up. The weather cooperated for most of the day, with the sun peeking out several times, but for the most part it was cloudy skies. A spit of rain came near the close of the show.
With the cooperation of the town, a 25-foot-long banner stretched over one of the roadways leading into the community, and four sandwich-boards were visible in some of the town’s main shopping areas. “It really helped to bring people to the show and we had a good attendance for a first-year event,” Phyllis said. She also noted that it was great to see some real dedicated collectors at the show, and some dealers who are always looking for new material.
One show visitor was overheard saying, “I am here just looking; you should see all the stuff in our house.” That was not the case, however, for everyone at the show, as the buying turned out to be really good for some of the exhibitors. A shopper was seen leaving with a large wooden shovel, two men were carrying a chest of drawers to the van, a trade sign was unreadable but tucked under a visitor’s arm, and a smiling couple was leaving the field, each carrying two bags filled with purchases. Amherst, Mass., dealer Justin Cobb came to shop the show and noted, “There are a lot of really nice things here, brought by a group of good dealers.”
Karen Wendhiser said the show was going very well for her, mentioning the sale of some jewelry, a cow lawn sign, a number of smalls and a green painted cupboard. Beverly Longacre reported that, despite the hot weather, Christmas was on peoples’ mind and her selection of ornaments was greatly reduced. “I have two full bags of them waiting for the clients to come back for them,” she said. Husband Tom even mentioned that “she sold one large feather tree, and it isn’t even at the show.” Bev promises a greater presence at the coming New Hampshire Show, which Tom sees as less room to display his folk art.
It was a good day for Richard “Smitty” Axtell, who reported lots of sales and a near-empty truck going home to Deposit, N.Y. “We sold two cupboards, a dry sink, a garden cart, bowls, pottery, kitchenware and some crazy and wonderful things,” he said. It was his first outdoor show since 1986.
It was nice to see a show of this caliber being added to an already crowded calendar of antiques shows and markets. For there was lots to buy, such as early furniture, some with good paint, a number of nice weathervanes, good stoneware and a few shelves of redware pottery, a cupboard filled with pewter and early trade signs and posters. Jewelry had its place, as did splint baskets, all manner of treenware, and a scattering of toys, while some of the very late things that usually haunt flea markets did not have a presence.
Sort of reminded some of the old-timers of the Russell Carrell days, when antiques shows really were antiques shows.