Published: April 5, 2011
Just as spring’s arrival marks the calendar at the end of every March and crocuses emerge from the recently frozen tundra, the first week of April traditionally marks the opening of the Elephant’s Trunk flea market. Without exception, dealers, both buyers and exhibitors, packed onto the field during the predawn hours this past Sunday, April 3, for the first show of the 2011 season.
Proprietor Greg Baecker began the procession of exhibitors and their antiques-laden vehicles onto the field long before the sun began to rise, and to the chagrin of many, long before the thermometer’s mercury began to rise as well. A chilly morning with temperatures hovering in the low 30s did not seem to slow the crowds, however.
“The field is in great shape,” commented Baecker, who will not allow vehicles onto it if it does not pass his inspection. “It’s quite a bit drier this year than it has been in past years,” he said, an irony since the winter of 2010-2011 was especially cruel to the region. Winter was not quite done with the region either, with icy conditions and snow falling around the area on the Thursday and Friday before opening. Saturday saw clear skies and much warmer temps, however, and Sunday, although initially brisk, warmed up with temperatures hitting the 50 degree mark. A broad smile crossed Baecker’s face as he acknowledged the forecast for the days following his opening †rain on Monday and Tuesday. “Someone is looking out for us,” he said.
Dealers hit the field at 5 am, early buyers at 5:45 and a huge line of regular admission buyers at 7. A couple of nice early cupboards were snapped up before the sun rose, as was a Windsor chair in old paint and a large box filled with enameled industrial lights. Chicopee, Mass., dealer Dick Grace was wrapped up in a blanket as he attempted to stay warm while tending his booth. A selection of paintings, an early firkin, a child-sized mannequin and a sawgrass basket were attracting attention at the stand.
Lanterns were set up around several booths, filling in as light sources to view the merchandise until the sun crested the horizon. A large assortment of pressed steel cars and trucks benefited from the artificial light.
One buyer was seen hustling by with a good load of fan-shaped windows with metal frames, several of which were loaded on a hand truck.
A nice brightly painted RCA radio jointed advertising figure in excellent condition provided a splash of color among the primitives in a booth at the far end of the field, while a couple of early bikes, including a large high-wheeled example, were displayed just up the aisle.
A pair of massive stone foo dogs were unpacked early and left in an unattended booth to attract attention †heavy enough that the vendor did not have to worry about them disappearing.
The Elephant’s Trunk flea market, 490 Danbury Road (Route 7), will be open Easter Sunday and is scheduled to be open, barring foul weather, every Sunday through November. For further information, 508-265-9911 or check for notices at www.etflea.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm