For the vast majority of Vermont Antiques Week shoppers, the popular Okemo Antiques Show, October 3, is the second stop on the circuit of the five shows presented over the weekend. Its preview kicks off in an unusual style, opening on Friday afternoon, at 3, for a three- hour stint serving up classic American antiques along with a selection of wine and local Vermont cheeses.
Managers Don and Pat Clegg are always on hand at the door throughout the day on Friday, selling tickets and providing shoppers with numbers that dictate their place in the long line that forms for the opening. Maine collectors/dealers John and Colleen Kinloch were first in line and, not wanting to tip their hand, they reported an “early AM” arrival to secure their position.
Okemo, now in its 15th year, is an upbeat event that utilizes the main ground floor area of the ski lodge and an adjacent display area in a wing of the building. Primarily early American in nature, merchandise at the show is also eclectic and fun †and that is something that carries over into the event’s atmosphere and attitude.
Since your number secures your spot in line, many buy their tickets and then head back over the steep mountain pass to Weston for either a first or a second look at the show there. Roughly an hour prior to the opening at Okemo, buyers get serious and the line begins to form. By the time the show is ready to open, the line extends out of the main lobby, across the courtyard and down the stairs toward the parking lot of the ski area.
One of the favorite pastimes of many of those waiting to get into the show seems to be taking a short stroll †which includes a sneak preview of sorts. Those taking the tour around the exterior of the glass-walled building are able to check out merchandise in the booths on the outside aisle.
Dealers whose booths are adjacent to the show’s entrance have learned to stand clear as the crowd makes its way onto the floor. There is a mad rush and there are no speed limit signs posted. Enthusiasm is a catchy thing and sold tags pop up at a rapid rate as shoppers rush from booth to booth.
As had been seen at the previous show taking place during Vermont Antiques Week, furniture was moving. Quick sales at Jane Wargo’s booth included a Queen Anne oval top candlestand and a one-drawer blanket chest in grain paint. The dealer was also seen writing up slips for accessories, including a nice Shaker finger box. A graduated stack of papered hatboxes sat next to a turned leg country table with a scrubbed and an attractive dry blue paint on the base. Looking forward toward the holiday season, the dealer displayed a “Toys and Games” trade sign; below it stood a tabletop sized Christmas tree loaded with vintage ornaments.
An owl decoy disappeared from the wall of American Sampler as the crowd rushed in, and a large carnival ball toss game was marked with a sold tag in Klassic Kace’s booth as well.
Colette Donovan was also busy writing up sales slips from her booth. Merchandise there included a nice country drop leaf table in red paint with a scrubbed top, and a wonderful small country cupboard with a cutout base and two blind doors over a single drawer. Humorously, a pair of saw grass woven slippers were displayed in front of a primitive rocking chair by the dealer.
Michael and Lucinda Seward offered a charming diminutive blanket box in the original blue paint and decorated with a series of red balls connected with dashes around the exterior of the front panel. Centered at the top was a bright red heart. Also in blue was a firkin that was attracting attention from the crowd, a chalkware lamb and a large hooked rug with red and white hearts decorating the multiple panels.
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