It’s like buying a house and immediately adding a new room. John and Tina Bruno of Flamingo Promotions bought the Start of Manchester Antiques Show, were not happy with it in the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, and started looking around for a different and more pleasing venue. “We spent two weeks driving all over the area, checking on one building after another, looking for a new home for Start of Manchester,” John said.
During one of those days, while also in search of a cup of coffee, “We spotted a restaurant sign for C.R. Sparks and followed it. The next sign we saw was for The Event Center, and we checked it out,” he said. He recalls it being like a dream come true: a clean, air-conditioned facility with lots of parking, many doors and management that was looking to become a part of Antiques Week in New Hampshire. “They did everything to make it easy for us and we now have a ten-year lock on the building,” he added. The Start of Manchester Antiques Show opened there on Tuesday, August 10, at 10 am, and ran for two days.
For the moment things will stay pretty much the same. Forty exhibitors filled the space inside and in years to come, “if we want to expand, we can move outside into a courtyard area and also tent the parking lot. If we should use a tent, it will have a rain floor and AC,” John said. The Brunos have already made contact with nearby Stop & Shop for use of part of its parking lot.
“This show has come a long way,” one shopper was saying as she left the show with two large bags stuffed with quilts. Favorable comments were also heard about the Flamingo advertising program and the facility, called by one male shopper, “comfortable and easy to get around.”
We are not sure the “easy to get around” part was completely accurate, as some of the rows dead-ended, causing some backtracking. Realizing the problem, however, the floor plan was adjusted before The Bedford Antiques Show opened on Thursday.
A large display of pewter was in the front booth, presented by James Island Antiques of Charleston, S.C., and including a 15-piece Scottish communion set by William Scott of Edinburgh, circa 1779-1805. As part of the set there were three chargers, 161/2 inches in diameter, one 13-inch flagon, two 10-inch flagons, and three 73/4-inch U-shaped chalices. There was also a shelf of American whale oil lamps, and a pewter coffee pot by Rufus Dunham of Westbrook, Maine.
Don and Marta Orwig, under the shop name of Indiana Antiques Exchange, can always be counted on for showing a great number of unusual things, including many advertising rdf_Descriptions. This time the Corunna, Ind., dealers showed a bench advertising “Rex Shoes are Good Shoes,” an over-sized rubber boot from a boot company, a large paint brush advertising a paint company, and a large and heavy bronze sign that once hung outside the Caldwell National Bank. A life-size standing cast-iron deer, probably Fiske, greeted shoppers at the front of the double booth.
One of the best signs offered at the show was in the booth of Cotton’s Pickin’s of Indianapolis, Ind., reading “Saturday and Sunday Only” in big red letters on a bright yellow ground. This sign had been already sold once, to another dealer in the show, and the new owner had no interest in parting with it. (Ask Judy Milne, who did her best to get it. And if she could not talk the lady out of it, who can?) Another sign boosted “E. Wertheimer, Meat Market,” and a large cutout and painted Santa seemed poised to go down the chimney.
A Lancaster County, Penn., table with turned legs, old red surface, circa 1820, was in the front of the booth of Country Treasures, Preston, Md. The top, three boards, was scrubbed and measured 6 feet 8 inches long. A Virginia pie safe in salmon paint, applied gallery, was in yellow pine and came from Augusta, Ga. It had punched tin panels, each with four stars in circles. A life-size swan, white painted, came from the Delmarva area, circa 1940, and was of one piece of wood.
Another pie safe, this example with 12 punched tin panels in the heart and tulip pattern, dated circa 1850 and was in old mustard paint. A tiger maple tall post bed was of New England origin, circa 1810, 61/2-foot post and came from either a barn or attic. “It was very dirty, but in good condition when we found it,” said Tom Cheap of period Antiques, Scottsburg, Ind. He noted, “The show is going very well for us and we have sold a good number of things including a nice wooden bowl in mustard paint and a trade sign.”
“As you can guess, we are very happy with our new location and we will be doing all we can to hold and build on the quality of this show,” John Bruno said. Tina mentioned, “We had the usual rush as the show opened, then things slowed a bit, so we are looking at anything we can do to increase the gate and make the show better. At this point we are just considering the options and we may alter the hours slightly next time.”
Knowing Flamingo, next year is bound to bring a change or two.