More than 75 dealers assembled on Columbus Day weekend for the Champlain Valley Antiques Festival at the Champlain Valley Exposition fairgrounds to offer their collections to the region’s antiques collectors and weekend leaf-peepers. Columbus Day weekend in Vermont is often the busiest weekend of the year for tourism there, and it is also the busiest weekend of the year for antiques shows, with at least six taking place, most about 100 miles south of here, in and around Manchester.
This show was begun four years ago as an alternative for the dealers and customers to those other shows, a show with a large roster of dealers and large collections of antiques. This was an assortment of good quality offerings, and many of the exhibitors had shown at the Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association (VADA) Show the previous weekend. While some of the offerings are later and trendier collections, this show offered great variety for the home decorator or antiques collector.
Visiting this assembly of antiques sellers were more than 3,000 attendees, according to show manager Marvin Getman, two thirds of whom arrived on Saturday with a mission: add to their collections.
Dealer Kent Degoosh, Richford, Vt., was there with a collection of early equipment, including a Nineteenth Century fire hose reel. There was also a factory cart from the Fairbanks Morse Scale Company in St Johnsbury, Vt., an early butter churn from Bellows Falls, Vt., along with some other household antiques. Early pine furniture in fresh finishes was the staple for Champlain Hill Antiques of North Ferrisburg, Vt. Set in a simple room setting was a step back hutch, a dry sink and an early cobbler’s bench.
Prospect Hill Antiques, on the other hand, was offering similar furniture but with original surfaces. The Essex Junction dealer had a New England-style pie safe and a dry sink, both with some of their original red milk paint surfaces still visible. Early Chinese Rose Medallion porcelain, Haviland and other early pottery were in the collection of Natasha’s Nest International Antiques from Staten Island, N.Y.
Howard Graff had hardly recovered from the prior week’s work in the VADA show before bringing his Colt Barn Antiques inventory to Champlain Valley. From Townshend, Vt., Graff retired just this year as show manager for VADA after many years, but he still was doing many jobs in that show, so while at this affair, he was practically resting.
Joan Korda has been doing shows in Vermont for many years through her business, Brookside Antiques of Bridport, Vt. Her collection is typically that of a well cared for home in Vermont, circa 1800, with a large quantity of primitive furniture made from the native woods. She also had the exhibit accessorized with small pieces from her collection. Malchione’s Sporting Antiques, Kennett Square, Penn., specializes in decoys, shore birds and other carved birds and also, as Veronica Malchione says, “nautical things, such as old binnacle compasses and lighting.” For this weekend she said their sales were “excellent. We sold to a family that was furnishing a second home on the St Lawrence, so we agreed to deliver some things. When we got to their home in Syracuse they bought even more.” The total in dollars was serious money. They had other customers during the show and even more sales after from this show’s activity.
J.D. Wahl, Richmond, N.H., was offering a group of wooden painted figures from Whalom Amusement Park of Lunenburg, Mass. The park, started in 1893, had featured the near life-size figures in a game called Walking Charlie on its midway. According to Wahl, “the object of the game was to knock the hats off the figures as the heads moved up and down.” The game was taken down about 1917 when the park was modernized. Wahl added that they came from “the estate of Mariano Forresta, the operator of the game. When the game was disassembled, he stored the figures in the rafters of his barn where they stayed until it was sold by the family.” Wahl was also offering the electrical mechanism for the game, all for $14,900.
Other dealers exhibiting at the show included Hawk’s Nest Antiques of Hinesburg, Vt., with an extremely rare Harris & Company full bodied horse weathervane, “Blackhawk,” circa 1885, at $48,000; Crones Collectibles of Brewster, Mass., with its large collection of early pottery; and The Shady Lady of Damariscotta, Maine, showing a room setting of furniture and signature lamps and shades. Stone Block Antiques of Vergennes, Vt., was offering a Vermont-made painted Sheraton chest of drawers, and George and Sandi Goldring, Essex Junction, sold 14 pieces in the two-day event.
Getman said he was especially pleased with the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce for its sponsorship of the show. The chamber was “very helpful in getting the word out to the traveling market” in the area, according to Getman. He added that their help was especially appreciated and for it they received a great deal of goodwill and some compensation.
Next year, the show will be moved to the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington, Vt., at Exit 14W of I-89 during the homecoming weekend for the University of Vermont. While this will limit the size of the show, Getman said he is confident that the customers will benefit from easier access to the site. His company also produces the Greater Boston Antiques Festival at the Shriners’ Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass., with an upcoming date January 19′0. For information, www.antiquingnewengland.com or 781-862-4039.