Published: August 16, 2011
News that the Connecticut Expo Center, home to the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show and the Autumn Hartford Antiques Show, is entering into final negotiations prior to its sale has begun to reach those involved with the two antiques shows conducted there. While it is unclear if the building will be razed or converted, the property will reportedly be transformed into a food storage facility and will be unavailable as a location for any sort of future public events.
The Connecticut Spring Antiques Show, begun by Frances Phipps and Betty Forbes more than 40 years ago, is a benefit show owned by the Haddam Historical Society and managed for the past several years by Karen DiSaia. The Autumn Hartford Antiques Show, conceived three years ago after Linda Turner’s Connecticut Fall Antiques Show ceased operating, is owned and managed by Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions.
This leaves both antiques shows homeless for the time being. The Hartford Armory, the original home of the Connecticut Antiques Show, which reverted to strictly military functions after 9/11, has stated in the past that it will remain closed to all public functions.
Gaglio, who was reached by Expo Center management last Friday, August 12, has announced that his Autumn Hartford Antiques Show, September 17 and 18, will be allowed to take place this year at the Expo Center as the real estate closing for the property is scheduled for after the event. According to the promoter, the autumn show will be among the final public events at the facility.
Gaglio has commented that he is currently searching for a new location and plans to continue the show. This compounds problems for Barn Star, as the Manchester, N.H., facility that the promoter uses for both his Manchester Pickers Market and Mid*Week in Manchester shows has been sold and will be unavailable for 2012. That building has reportedly been sold to an automotive parts distributor.
Speaking on behalf of the Haddam Historical Society, DiSaia acknowledged that notification of the facility’s closure had been received for the Connecticut show. “Haddam holds the lease, so they were notified,” she said.
“I was about to send out the contracts [for the Connecticut Show] prior to leaving for the Nantucket Show a couple weeks ago and decided to do it when I got back,” said the Connecticut show manager. Instead, upon returning, DiSaia received notice that the show’s contract with the Expo Center had been canceled.
“They have done a tremendous amount of legwork already,” said DiSaia of the Haddam show committee members and their efforts to locate a new facility. “We already have a couple of appointments to look at venues tomorrow,” she commented this past Monday.
“There are a couple of ways to get this thing done,” stated the manager who has incorporated attractive floor plans and infused new lifeblood into several shows over the past few years. “It might be something creative or more traditional,” she said of the decision regarding the spaces that they will be viewing.
While the Connecticut show has resisted major changes over the past five decades, remaining one of the grand dames of the business, change is once again inevitable. “I like change for shows,” said an optimistic DiSaia, “it freshens them up.”
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