Published: May 22, 2012
“We are delighted to report that 2,200 people attended this year,” reported Vivien Cord, manager of the Ridgefield Outdoor Antiques Market, which was conducted May 5 on the grounds of the historic Lounsbury House, also known as the Ridgefield Community Center. Following up on the attendance figures for the event, Cord pointed out that the number was up significantly from last year’s 800 visitors.
Cord Shows Ltd also brought in 20 more dealers than last year for a total of 60 exhibitors, close to capacity for the lawn-side of the mansion. “Ridgefield is starting to feel like the good old days!” Cord exclaimed.
Good old days, indeed. There are only a handful of shows around New England that can boast a 50-year pedigree. Fifty years ago show promoter Russell Carrell famously started the Ridgefield event for the benefit of the Lounsbury House. Over the years, the show passed through the hands of Ed Palko and Corinne Burke, and this was the Armonk, N.Y.-based Cord’s third year at the reins.
Its milestone birthday did not go uncelebrated. And if the Ferris wheel and carousel rides on the grounds, a gala preview party with wine and cheese tasting stations on the evening preceding the show seemed like a World’s Fair writ small, there was good reason. With all proceeds going to the restoration and preservation of the historical Lounsbury House mansion, the celebration was as much to fete the white building that forms a stately backdrop for the show as the antiques market itself.
Lounsbury House was built by Connecticut Governor Phineas Lounsbury, who so admired the Connecticut pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that he decided to build a replica of it as his home in Ridgefield. “Our relationship with that infamous World’s Fair is forever bound because of [his] love of his state and passion for the beaux arts architecture,” stated Di Masters, executive director of the community center.
So the sponsoring committee, led by chairs and former antiques dealers Richard and Carol Vazzana of Ridgefield, went all out to evoke some of the innovations that the Chicago World’s Fair introduced to the American public, including the Ferris wheel, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer †on tap at the opening night party †and cotton candy, to name a few.
Another special feature, arranged for this year’s event only, was to have vintage clothing, textile and jewelry dealers set up inside the mansion, offering their merchandise at both the opening night party and during the next day’s market.
Greeting visitors in the mansion’s sweeping hallway was a display of vintage bridal gowns by Lilien Victoria, Newtown, Conn. One of the wedding gowns on display, created by Deja Vu Designs, had been featured on a 1991 cover of Brides magazine, its two trains stretching an impressive 188 inches.
Set up in upper rooms were Olivia Garay Vintage Retro, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Kimerling Antiques, Ridgefield, Conn., and jeweler James Levinson, New York City, to name a few. Garay had a vintage Tom Ford designed necklace for Gucci, circa 1990s, which paired 18K gold with ebony. The Kimerlings featured a painting by American artist Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819‱905) of a Putnam County scene with grazing sheep titled “Spring in the Pasture,” 1895. A highlight on offer by James Levinson was a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace of coral, pearls and 18K gold, circa 1965.
On Saturday, much of the action was outside, thanks to decent weather and the many dealers who set up their displays on the south lawn of mansion.
Paula Cohen, owner of Your Grandma Had It, Brooklyn and Westhampton, N.Y., showed a collection of American art pottery, mostly from Ohio, and English ironstone pre-1900. A highlight was a rare McCoy “Fin” vase from the 1920s. “You almost never see it,” said Cohen. “For collectors, I’m so excited to have this piece.”
Marie Butchen and her husband, Larry, Wantagh, N.Y., dealers who are known in the trade as the Butchen Boys, had recently returned from a buying trip to France, where they came across a wonderful carpenter’s plane, circa 1870, ergonomically designed and carved from hardwood, probably lime oak. Early tools like this were prized by their owners as they were necessary for their livelihood. In this case, the carpenter had inlaid his initials “C.Q.” in brass on the base of the plane.
For information, 914-273-4667 or www.CordShows.com .
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