Published: June 27, 2006
“There’s an old promoter’s joke,” Jon Jenkins said with a laugh and an upward roll of his eyes. “Which goes, ‘If I could control the weather, do you think I’d be running antiques shows?'” Jenkins Management may not be able to control the weather, but the Fishers, Ind.-based show promoters do their level best.
After enough rain to mobilize Noah, the sun finally peeped through the clouds at 8 am on Saturday, June 10, for the start of the two-day Farmington Antiques Weekend at the Farmington Polo Grounds. The opening drew shivering early birds in rubber boots, jackets and caps, and left cars spattered with mud.
“It was a great spring morning – for April,” joked Jenkins. “Good show weather is when it’s 65 and overcast, not 58 and spitting rain.” Later, the clearing sky brought with it sporadic gusts of wind that rattled tents, unnerved exhibitors and made management work even harder.
“We went with a new tent vendor and there were a few bumps which we got straightened out. The manufacturer shipped the wrong sidewalls, which made things tough. I was up until midnight on Friday night Googling every tent vendor everywhere,” said Jenkins, who secured extra sidewall and double hung some of the booths.
Attendance rose as the wind died down.
“We actually had more people through on Sunday, which isunusual,” said the manager.
Now in his sixth year at Farmington, Jenkins prides himself on offering a little bit of everything. “With a 400-dealer show, you have to appeal to a wide audience. There are Farmington dealers who sell midrange material and others who offer affordable and decorative pieces.”
While country furniture, folk art, garden antiques, textiles and ceramics and glass predominate, there were also antique carriages and vintage eyewear on the field.
Jenkins, who manages Music Valley and the Tailgate antiques shows in Nashville along with the monthly Springfield Antiques Show in Ohio, has infused Farmington with the flavor of his signature Midwestern fairs.
“Farmington is a good retail outlet for my Midwestern and Southern dealers in a part of the country that is steeped in history and has a great love of antiques,” he says.
Fellow Nashville promoters Kay and Bill Puchstein set up at Farmington, their well-appointed display typical of the country dealers who regularly travel from Nashville to Round Top to Farmington. Other Farmington exhibitors add a New Hampshire or Maine show or two to their portfolios.
“In addition to Nashville and Round Top, we do Deerfield andRiverside in August,” said Cy Stellmach of Blue Dog Antiques ofStafford Springs, Conn., whose room-setting booth was full ofcrusty, old furniture and smalls that were just right forManchester.
Jenni and Glen Rice, Higganum, Conn., used soft blue homespun fabrics to tie together a display emphasizing painted furniture, toys, folk art and smalls. A large heart-shaped tin baking mold in the dealers’ booth was $895.
David Goldfarb arrived from Staten Island, N.Y., early Saturday morning, stopping to inspect a William and Mary chest of drawers on ball feet, $2,500, at Chelsea Hill Antiques, Hampton, Conn. Exhibitor Thomas Nagy, who has participated in Farmington since year one, takes pains with his corner display, spreading a room-sized Oriental rug on the grass and neatly arranging formal furniture and accessories on it.
“I saw some very nice pieces of furniture moving dealer to dealer during set up, which is an encouraging sign,” said the manager.
Furniture specialists included Madison Auction Service of Madison, N.Y., with a full selection of finished chests of drawers, servers, stands and tables. One- and two-drawers stands were abundant at Moses Antiques of Syracuse, N.Y., as well.
“They ought to sell quickly,” Richard Blaschke of Dick’sAntiques, Bristol, Conn., said of two cast-iron fern armchairs,$875 and $1,950. Minutes into the show, the dealer had parted withthree wicker armchairs. No doubt he would have offers on atwo-piece cottage furniture set, a steal at $450.
Gardenalia sprang up all over the field. “I just got a fresh shipment from England,” said Kim Kassner, navigating the mud in open-toed, slip-on shoes. A circa 1840 wood and glass miniature conservatory, $3,450, and a 1920s miniature greenhouse, $2,100, were highlights at Brewster Antiques of Brewster, Mass.
“I bought it on the field and am using it like a shopping cart,” said Jane Desjardins of Ware, Mass., pushing her early Twentieth Century wheelbarrow around the grounds. A teeter-totter and sandbox combination of the same vintage was $350 at Robert and Janet Sherwood, Cambridge, N.Y.
Davie and Bonnie Ferriss of Lake Luzerne, N.Y., just needed a garden to go with their handsome trellis and three-columned enclosure.
Pottery, porcelain and glass were also plentiful. Steve German of Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn., displayed New York and Vermont stoneware, along with an item of local interest, a Goodwin & Webster of Hartford ovoid stoneware jar, $625. A circa 1850-9 J&E Norton #2 two-gallon jug from Bennington was $1,500.
Dedham and Moorcroft pottery complemented cloisonné and cutglass at Noble Peddlar Antiques of Torrington, Conn.
“Glidden pottery can bring into the thousands of dollars,” said Dennis Christenson, a Warwick, N.Y., dealer who had pieces of the midcentury modern stoneware for $35. Made between 1940 and 1957, the pottery was individually glazed, decorated and signed. Glidden Pottery was the subject of a 2001 cataloged exhibition at Alfred University in Upstate New York, where the ceramics still tends to be found.
“It just worked out that way,” said Claudia Glassman of Brimfield, Mass., a dealer whose booth full of vintage textiles and linens adjoined that of her sister, Michele Piccolo of Dusty’s Vintage Linens, Holland, Mass., a dealer in tea cloths, sewing notions and Bakelite buttons.
A deluxe assortment of antique quilts, quilt tops and blocks were in store at Lin’s Quilt Source, Bristol, Conn., where a circa 1830 pieced and appliqued quilt of early chintz was $5,500.
“My ice cream vendor said that if I’d told him that he’d sell well on Saturday, he would have told me I was crazy. Well, he sold well. By the end of the weekend most of our dealers were pleased, too,” said Jenkins. “For the most part, we were just coping with the normal vagaries of outdoor weather in summer.”
Jenkins Management may be contacted at 317-598-0012 or www.jenkinsshows.com.
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