Published: January 10, 2012
Those selling tickets and keeping the large crowd of anxious buyers at bay at the opening of the Glastonbury Antiques & Collectibles Gala New Year’s Show began fidgeting as the 9 am opening approached. And while show manager Robert Barrows insisted on holding the crowd back until precisely 9 am, helpers from the Glastonbury Exchange Club, the show’s sponsor, swung the doors open a few minutes early as Barrows was making announcements to the dealers. Helpers and the manager quickly got out of the way of the huge crowd as shoppers flowed forth onto the floor.
At the 31st edition of the New Year’s Day show, Barrows commented that little has changed over the years. “We only have a couple of new dealers this year,” he said, “most everyone returned after a very good showing last year.”
Certainly most of the shoppers that make this show an annual tradition were back in line at Glastonbury High School on Sunday morning, January 1. Unlike at last year’s snow-blanketed and frigid conditions, however, shoppers, many of whom began forming a line more than an hour prior to opening, were met with springlike weather and bluebird skies.
Barrows funnels the opening crowd through the lobby of the school and down a couple of corridors, with the line starting in a long hallway that ends at an entrance to the gymnasium. Barrows packs 138 dealers in the expansive room, just a few more than when he started the show in 1980 with his father, Thomas Barrows.
The manager commented that attendance at the Glastonbury New Year’s Day show has been on the rise for the past four years, up approximately 50 people over last year. Management reported 2,600 through the doors last year. “It was the largest attendance that we have had since back in the heyday about 20 years ago,” he said. The line to get into the show remained steady throughout the morning, with people arriving more than two hours after opening still having to stand in a line that extended out of the school and down a set of stairs toward the parking lot.
“Most of the dealers were happy,” stated the manager, noting that sales were good all around the floor, as evidenced by a large number of shoppers walking around with bags, “and there was some furniture selling as well. One guy I saw was buying early candlestands; I saw him go out of the door with at least three,” he said. Barrows also reported a dealer selling some Victorian furniture, including a marble top table, as well as an early blanket chest.
“It is a show with a little bit of everything,” said Barrows, “and that is one of the things that people love about it.” Indeed, there was a good selection of Americana, prints, jewelry, fabrics, toys, silver, bottles and glass, porcelains, bronzes, and even Hermes scarves and Louis Vuitton luggage.
Barrows typically follows up with another show in Glastonbury that takes place in March. Unfortunately, due to conflicts with the scheduling at the school, that show will not take place this year. For further information, contact Robert Barrows at 860-342-2540.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm