Published: September 27, 2022
Review & Onsite Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
NORWALK, CONN. – By 10 am on Sunday, September 18, nearly 100 vendors had pitched tents or tables on the grounds of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum (LMMM) for the museum’s 15th annual Old-Fashioned Flea Market, a lively event that museum executive director, Susan “Suzy” Gilgore, expected would draw about 2,000 people over the course of the day.
“The event was a big success with close to 100 vendors drawing into Mathews Park, thousands of shoppers and generating 240 tours inside the museum,” Gilgore said after the event. “We are very grateful to our chair, Steve Balser, who, with the help of staff and volunteers keeps growing this event every year. The White Elephant Table raised more than $1,000 selling $1 items, (on average), expertly managed by volunteer Rose Carroll. The Old-Fashioned Flea Market is a cherished annual event for our communities that relies on the efforts of more than 30 volunteers and many supporters, including our 2022 Season sponsors such as CT Humanities with generous funding provided by Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature and the City of Norwalk. After a few years of pandemic, we were thrilled to see large joyful crowds and the return of our friends from the Connecticut Seaport Car Club, who add color and history to the event with their beautiful vintage and antique cars.”
The car club Gilgore mentioned has a membership roster in the state of about 100. Fairfield, Conn., residents Gwen and Parker Ackley brought a 1911 Hupmobile, which they have owned for about nine years. Their vehicle was next to the 1931 Ford Model A Roadster owned by Mark and Karen Milosky of Southport, Conn. Club president, Lissa Seeberger, festively dressed as a flapper, had brought her 1926 Ford Model T Coupe all the way from Wilton, while Norwalk residents Don and Peggy Morey had another Ford Model T, also from 1926.
Antiques blend easily with vintage and handcrafts at the fair, and there are shoppers for everything, old and new, with most of the vendors hailing from the coastal areas of Connecticut adjacent to, or within easy distance of Norwalk.
Julie Christinola, Dawn Monteiro and Susan Zelman are Three Board Ladies, who hand make decorations from recycled wood to help not only save things from landfill but to repurpose existing wood. Based out of Norwalk, they do not have a website but do local fairs and shows; it was their second time at the LMMM flea market.
Several vendors were participating at the market for the first time, including Kim Legana from Norwalk, whose business – Kal-Art Creations – sells brightly colored magnets, pins and jewelry. Cyndi Krupa, New Leaf Pottery, makes pottery in Tolland, Conn., and her daughter, Miriam Naggar was selling her mother’s pottery as part of a new online store called Guildry, which she started during the pandemic. Naggar has volunteered at LMMM but this was her first booth at the flea market.
Maria Teresa Tura, from Wilton, makes cards and other stationery featuring quilled decorations. “Quilling” is the art of making decorative designs by using narrow strips of paper that are rolled, shaped and glued together. She said the process is so time-consuming that it takes one or two days to do them but she had priced them temptingly, at between $5 to $20.
Next to Guildry, Jennifer Lei-Cohn had a tent bustling with shoppers who liked the decorative pieces she makes for Zoia’s Creations, incorporating crystals and plants – largely of the succulent variety. The Redding, Conn., vendor sells on Etsy, Facebook and Instagram and offered custom creations where buyers could choose the plant, mineral and design.
“It’s wonderful. A lovely place and I love it!” enthused Debbie Gioello, who lives slightly farther afield in Yonkers, N.Y. She has been a dealer for more than 20 years but only two of them have been at the LMMM flea market. A varied array of vintage ceramics and glass occupied one side of her booth, the back of which featured racks of vintage cloths. Two additional tables, laden with coins and sports cards completed her booth.
Gioello’s daughter, Donna Gioello, also from Yonkers, had an adjoining booth to her mother’s. She had a large framed Art Deco poster that she had been given from a neighbor; in her opinion, it was “the best piece in the show,” and she had priced it at $2,000.
The Eagle’s Club of Norwalk was giving away potted plants and colorful wax-covered pinecone fireplace starters; the donations they were soliciting would go to support cancer research.
Steve Balser, Old Horizons Antiques, is in Norwalk but does not have a dedicated shop. The retired teacher taught history at Rye Country Day School for 19 years and he had one of the largest collections of old and antique furniture on the field. He has been doing the flea market for six years and volunteers as the museum’s event chair.
Nicholas Cullen, Nick’s Knick Knacks, Wilton, Conn., is an up and coming dealer who was showing in his first antiques show ever. He said he’d been collecting all his life and had a good variety of Depression-era glass, including uranium or vaseline glass.
A pandemic hobby for Norwalk resident Michele D’Koleszar has turned into a burgeoning business with her crocheted creations, which she sells under the name “Crochet Crafter MD.” She makes baskets and Amigurumi, a Japanese craft of making small stuffed yarn creatures, which she said take a couple of days to finish. She got the idea during the pandemic when she was at a crafting store and saw a photo of a basket on a skein of yarn; the rest is history. She was accompanied by her daughter, Kerry.
For a novel, innovative product, it would be hard to beat the silicon lids that David Farnworth created that seal the tops of containers of any material, including wood, plastic, glass and ceramic. OnTopz storage toppers eliminate the use of plastic wrap and foil and can resist both warm and cold temperatures so can be used in the oven, microwaves, dishwashers and freezers.
Twenty-something dealers Amanda Pereira and Liv Delia, both of Norwalk, were sharing the same booth tent and both were making their debut at the flea market. Pereira started making jewelry four or five years ago, in high school. She was accepting donations to support the Ethiopian refugee crisis in lieu of payment. Delia, who is a student at Purchase College in Purchase, N.Y., makes art, stickers and jewelry in her down time for her business, Sapphie Shack.
“I’ve been doing [it] since the beginning!” One of the longest-running vendors at the market is Marcia Chaloux, who owns Cherished Treasures in Newtown, Conn. Among the jewelry she had on hand was a Czechoslovakian silver bracelet with amethyst colored stones that dated to circa 1900, and a large late 1800s tortoiseshell comb that had green flatback rhinestones.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is at 295 West Avenue. For more information, www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.org or 203-838-9799.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm