Published: October 21, 2008
As the preview up the street at Okemo Mountain winds down late on Friday afternoon, the focus of the crowds attending Vermont Antiques Week turns toward the Main Street of this small ski town. Ludlow’s Black River High School is located at the far end of Main Street and it houses the Ludlow Antiques Show, now running for the 44th year.
A one-day show, with yet another uniquely flavored preview, it actually opens the evening prior, October 3, at 7 pm, and admission to the evening preview includes a home cooked meal.
This show is a hoot, but at the same time it is also quite serious and is considered by some to have “the potential to be one of the best buying opportunities of the week.” While virtually all of the other shows are filled with mainstream dealers who participate in numerous large and popular shows throughout the year, many of the Ludlow dealers have limited show schedules. At least one dealer is rumored to set up only at Ludlow and he offers items picked fresh from estates and houses.
The Ludlow Show dealers cannot begin to set up until school lets out on Friday afternoon. Soon after the kids depart, show co-manager Carol Baranowski has display tables set up for the dealers and she organizes a host of porters that assist exhibitors in getting their merchandise funneled into the school’s gymnasium. Walls for individual booths and lighting are a luxury that this show does without, although there are probably few that have ever noticed.
Back in the kitchen is co-manager Ann Firkey, who organizes a host of cooks and assistants as a bevy of home cooked meals are prepared †round one for the dealers and round two for those that attend preview.
As the opening draws closer and the line outside of the show’s entrance begins to grow, the 37 dealers that exhibit here are called into the kitchen promptly at 6 pm for their dinner. With full bellies and smiles on their faces, dealers return to their booths to face an onslaught of buyers who seem to understand only one thing †hesitate and the item you are interested in will be gone. Deals are made fast and furiously all around the floor.
Several dealers are set up on the stage at one end of the gym and they are accessed by a single small staircase. The bottleneck created here seems to add to the fevered pitch. Another booth is set up at the end of a narrow hall, in a small alcove that leads to a closed-off exit. Minutes after opening, Doug Blanchan’s merchandise is barely viewable through the mass of bodies attempting to make purchases.
Among the items offered by Blanchan was a selection of early splint baskets, cast iron banks and toys, decoys, a grain painted document box, a six-board blanket chest in old paint and a host of ceramics and porcelains ranging from mocha to rewards-of-merit cups and saucers.
Susan and Jerry Hartman parted with a large collection of Halloween memorabilia as the crowd rushed into the show. The crisp and clean items had all come from one collection, commented Susan. Redware and stoneware pieces were seen in numerous booths, including a couple rare forms in desirable glazes that bounced between a couple booths before leaving the floor with preview shoppers. George Johnson bought well and sold well, with a greenish glazed redware jug with formed pouring spout among his early sales. The dealer also parted with a large cheese basket.
Hooked rugs, country tables, painted tole and a host of other smalls filled the booth of Doug and Beth Woolever, Catchpenny Antiques, Rochester, N.Y. Next door in the booth of Bonnie Marzolf, Elma, N.Y., quilts, a country farm table and Rockingham wares were offered.
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