Published: October 10, 2017
LEBANON, CONN. – It is hard to believe that there was a resident of Lebanon who was not involved in a town event on Saturday, September 30. For this little town in eastern Connecticut was alive with things to do, including a book sale, several tag sales, an outdoor antiques show on the historic Lebanon Green, and the air was filled with the wonderful smell of hotdogs and hamburgers sizzling on the grill. Pies were baked about town and sold by the slice at the church, and homemade clam chowder remained a popular ingredient of the weekend.
One of the big draws was the 51st annual Outdoor Antiques Show sponsored by the Lebanon Historical Society and staged on the Lebanon Green in the middle of town. Visitors started lining up about 30 minutes before the show opened at 9 am, and by day’s end, 1,100 people had spent time shopping the booths of 52 dealers. Originally 64 dealers had signed up to take part, but the weather threatened rain and 12 exhibitors did not show. Admission was only $5 per person, and a hand stamp allowed people to wander off for lunch, a slice of pie, or whatever, and return to the show for more browsing or buying.
The dealers seemed to pay no attention to the threat of a shower and spread things all over the ground, often going well outside the boundaries of their small tents. Others were tentless, and some arranged pieces in and around their vehicles. But no matter how things were exhibited, shoppers plowed through countless baskets, wrought iron pieces for the fireplace, watering cans and other things for the garden, carpenter tools, nautical items, some early kitchen items such as treen bowls and potato mashers, small pieces of furniture, a few early trade signs and you name it.
When questioned, most of the dealers seemed happy with sales, and we just happened to be near a couple of serious shoppers as they made their way around the field. She was carrying an early purchase, a homemade version of a pogo stick, with a nice turned handle and large spring to handle a hefty child. In the next booth the husband was looking over an early soap stone bed warmer and before he could ask the price, the dealer called out, “I will take $10 for it.” That did it and the couple added another purchase. Moving on, the husband discovered an early wheel jack, wood and metal and in fine condition. Another piece from the past left in his arms. The next stop was the tent filled with all manner of home-baked goods, and at that point we lost interest in the couple’s treasure hunt.
One dealer mentioned that dealers were assigned a certain place to park on the green, adding that “if you did not like where they put you, they would move you to where you wanted to be.” That seemed to be the temper of the day as all the events were staffed by townspeople who were there to make sure visitors to their town had a good time and would be back again next year.
To learn more about this part of the State of Connecticut, visit www.historyoflebanon.org.
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