Published: September 12, 2000
Farmington Antiques Weekend
FARMINGTON, CONN– Early buying started off enthusiastically at Farmington Antiques Weekend, with crowds of eager shoppers striding onto the 40-acre polo grounds in spite of light drizzle at 7am. The misty warm rain tapered off by 7:40, allowing dealers to start moving larger furniture pieces and other weather sensitive rdf_Descriptions out from underneath their tents. There were more visible and appealing displays on the grass in front of their booths by about 8:30.
Leery of weather, and with good cause, dealers kept an eye on the skies throughout the two-day Labor Day Weekend event that began on Saturday, September 2. Still in recent memory was the damaging wind and rain of the June show, which left many dealers in shambles, and wiped a few dealers right out of business. The fall show opened with over 500 dealers according to Karen McInnis of Revival Promotions, Inc. (The program listed only 465 of these dealers because some were signed after the program was produced, and a few dealers missed the deadline to be included in the program.) An estimated 100 dealers did not return for the September show. ”June was only two months ago. Many people just needed more time to recuperate from the storm,” said Karen McInnis.
The Farmington antiques show’s 21-year run has been remarkable for its consistency and for the number of dealers who return year after year. Eleven of those 21 years have been managed by the McInnis family, originally Bob and Abby, and more recently, also by their son Bret and his wife Karen.
Come hell or high water, most dealers love Farmington too much to be deterred. The show ”is a high quality show with an affluent suburban Connecticut following as well as a sprinkling of New York buyers. It has always been a strong show for us,” said Scott Roland of Glimmer Glass. Because they sell glass, the Rolands have invested in heavy-duty tents. Over the years they have found this to be a good investment. ”We were extraordinarily lucky not to lose one piece back in June,” Roland continued.
Lloyd Bergeron of Bergeron’s Antiques in Killingworth, Connecticut also believes in being proactive when it comes to tents. They were adjacent to collapsed and blown away tents, and yet his custom reinforced tent was left standing. (It still didn’t stop the water from soaking his furniture.) Bergeron was back this September with a fine selection of Australian armoires. Most were already tagged sold early on Saturday
This year, the heat and humidity on Saturday kept people looking for relief in the shade or in the breeze, ice cream or cold drink in hand. Mopping brows with a glazed over look, many dealers were reluctant to leave their chairs unless buyers looked very interested. Dogs everywhere were panting. One beloved pet had his very own baby carriage to prevent over exertion. Well why not? In the meantime, buying continued. Walky-talkies kept buyers in touch with each other as they roamed down separate aisles, or if they were dealers, while a partner manned the booth.
Sold stickers and tags were all over by midday Saturday. Smaller purchases were whisked into bulging shopping bags. Saturday was the more profitable day for most dealers, Sunday for others. On Sunday the heat had lifted somewhat, and the crowd was voluminous. ”We call Sunday ‘stroller and old people’s’ day,” said Mr Fabrizio, who typically does 70 to 90 percent of his business on Saturday. He wouldn’t mind an earlier closing time on Sunday. He specializes in oak and pine furniture. They sold mirrors and a few pieces of furniture.
Joni Lima, a specialist in wrought iron from Damariscotta, Me, had an amazing Sunday and a spectacular Farmington, selling several sets of refinished Salterini wrought iron. Salterini studied with L.C. Tiffany, and Tiffany’s influence is very evident in this work.
John Malchione of Malchione Antiques & Sporting Collectibles has been in the business of selling vintage tools, fishing tackle, early American baseball gloves, and decoys for over 30 years. They have been coming to Farmington for at least ten years. “Farmington keeps getting better and better. They get the gate. If you’re not selling well, you have to take a look at what you are selling and how you are selling it. And your prices. In the beginning I made many mistakes. It takes a lot of years of hard work, learning and knowledge,” said Malchione.
Rita Cohen, who specializes in English Ceramics in the Chinese manner, has been at Farmington for at least 15 years. Back in the 1980s she was doing about 20 shows a year. Gradually she has dropped shows that were not working for her– leaving about six on her calendar. Of those six, two are Farmington. ”I would never not do Farmington,” said Cohen. She sold well in the high end of her ceramics, with individual pieces going for $800 and $900. This show was not her best show, however. ”I think perhaps that this was more of a furniture show. The dealer next to me sold eight pieces.”
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