Published: September 27, 2016
Review and Photos by W.A. Demers
GOSHEN, CONN. — The Dealer’s Fair returned for its farewell-to-summer session at the Goshen Fairgrounds on September 20 as about 50 dealers from all around New England set up in one of the fairground’s buildings and around in front on the grass to showcase their wares in the event’s trademark informal fashion. Formerly managed by antiques dealers Tom Seaver and Fritz Rohn, the show was put into new hands after this year’s June session. It is now managed by Maria McLennan, owner of Covet Antiques, and Annie Fletcher Itin, creative director and owner of the Fletcher Design Group. The women have partnered under the name of Hunt & Gather Events.
Earlier they said their aim is to bring the show a fresh perspective and an expanded dealer and customer base. For this edition, however, they decided against making any big changes, so it remained a concentrated show — opening at 9 am and closing at 1 pm on a weekday.
Mercifully, it was a fine day, with some early morning fog and overcast that quickly burned off and turned warm and beautiful.
Launched four years ago with primarily a dealer-to-dealer focus, the short, weekday format was ideal, with a lot of dealers coming from around New England and New York to shop, supplemented by local retail collectors from around Litchfield. McLennan and Itin, however, would like to entice more tri-state designers and that might entail changing the day of the week going forward. “We sent out more than 500 direct mail invitations to designers concentrated in a 50-mile radius around the show, so I was hoping for a larger gate, although it was just a little shy of the spring show,” said McLennan afterward.
As that small group of buyers entered past the fairgrounds gate, they encountered several dealers set up with tables or tarps on the grass, in some cases the hood of their vehicles. Past shows have utilized both large, purpose-built buildings, but this time only one was in use by exhibitors. Here the dealers were set up, displaying merchandise on long wooden tables or in “roomlike” setups of their own devising with an eclectic assortment of furniture, fine art, decorative smalls, Oriental carpets, porcelain, silver, glass and art pottery, folk art, Asian material, Americana and more.
The ambiance is laid-back and collegial, with many dealers, fresh from the fields of the season’s last Brimfield, regaling one another about their recent finds, swapping jokes and casually checking out each other’s merchandise.
While there were many familiar faces, there were some new ones as well, for example, Bill Lynch from Floram Park, N.J., who attracted many to shop his booth full of contemporary art and sculpture. A Picasso-esque sculpture of a female bust by Lothar Kestenbaum (1926–1995), who taught American artists in the 1950s at the Institute de Allende in Mexico, was one notable highlight. “Bill found us though our Facebook page and contacted us just a few days before the show,” said McLennan, “and he ended up doing very well.”
The Dealer’s Fair will return next year, she added, although she is working with the fairgrounds to see if there is a weekend day that would be available and not in conflict with other shows. “I need the planets and stars to align,” she quipped.
For information, 203-263-3775 or www.huntandgatherct.com.
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