Published: September 30, 2003
– Blue Mountain Lake was not the hive of activity on Friday and Saturday, September 19-20, as it had been a year ago when it hosted Oliver and Gannon’s Adirondack Antiques Show on the grounds of the Adirondack Museum. Only a handful of tailgaters dotted the streets of the hamlet, some vacancy signs hung out at lodging spots, cars and vans belonging to those seeking “treasures” were not parked everywhere and the museum did not experience 3,000 to 4,000 people milling about its grounds. The scene had shifted and now all the action was just 12 miles down Route 28 at Indian Lake.
“Last year when the Adirondack Museum decided that it did not want the show back there again, we looked for a new location in the area and found it just down the road,” Jerry Oliver said.
“The Town of Indian Lake welcomed us with open arms and set about turning Byron Park on the banks of Adirondack Lake into an ideal spot for the show,” Michael Gannon added.
It was a major undertaking for the town and with the exception of the electrical work, town employees accomplished the job, clearing land, grading it for a blacktop surface and building the bathrooms. “Actually, construction of the bathrooms never started until about five days prior to the opening of the show, but everything was in working order when the show previewed at 2 pm on Friday,” Jerry said.
A year ago, when word was out that the show would be making this move, residents of Indian Lake who owned property on the hamlet’s main street were already advertising “prime spots” for the tailgate vendors. This year not all places were sold and filled, causing one homeowner to keep his advertising in sight, offering “Great Location With Facilities.” One area, billed in big red letters as “Magoun Bros., Road Show,” was stopping traffic in both directions.
Rumor had it that there would be a large gathering of dealers on the grounds of the school, but only a few tents were raised and much of the merchandise offered fell into the reproduction category. Another attempt for a show was staged a very short distance from Byron Park, but that too failed to draw a sizable dealer base. The real action was, without question, at the Adirondack Mountains Antiques Show.
Last year Oliver and Gannon hosted an outdoor supper at the new site, giving dealers a preview of the yet-to-be developed area for the show and an idea of booth layout. The options included a large tent at the end of the lake, near the road, on a black-top surface. Other spots were located along the road leading up to the pavilion, where more spaces were planned. Another large tent was also set up, and those exhibitors with their own tenting were stationed around the perimeter.
“We make the trip up here from Landrum, S.C.,” Linda Davidson said, “and we bring enough to fill three booths.” By noon on Saturday Linda indicated the load going home was considerably smaller. “We have had a great show, many repeat buyers, and lots of furniture has gone,” she said. Among the larger pieces sold was a swing on frame and a gate leg table.
One would have thought the furniture was being given away at Christiby’s of Traverse City, Mich., from the way it was moving out of the large booth. “We have been doing real well,” Bob Markey said, “with a strong preview and good sales Saturday morning.” A number of pieces of Old Hickory changed hands, among them a table with four chairs, several single chairs including two rockers, and a settle. A large collection of Black Forest carvings attracted much attention, resulting in sales.
“We had our second best preview on Friday, and the selling has been excellent today,” Jon Magoun said early Saturday afternoon. By that time he had sold four mounted moose heads, including one of very large size, and by the end of the day five more were gone. Jon took up close to three spaces for his display of canoes, furniture, baskets, mounted fish trophies and a variety of mounted animals.
A portion of his booth was taken by a play-gym, a permanent fixture in Byron Park, and it was used to advantage. By the time Jon was finished it looked more like a zoo than a plaything for children. Three bears were on the parallel bars, moose and deer watched from the tops of the ladders, and some sort of bobcat stalked in the sand below. By the end of the day, all of the bears were sold, as was a B.N. Morris canoe of Maine origin.
Fred Balling of The Fishing Room, West Cornwall, Conn., sold the three large Adirondack scenes he displayed on both the side and back wall of his booth. They were by Tommy Vertefeuille and depicted a bear in a river fishing for salmon, lumberjacks floating logs and a small cabin by a waterfall with deer in the background. The pictures, originally from Maine, moved only a short distance and will hang at The Point at Tupper Lake, N.Y. A couple of metal signs, and several old photographs, also left empty spots on the booth walls.
The Cherry Gallery of Pine Plains, N.Y., offered a fine collection of Adirondack furniture including a matching settee and armchair, a paint decorated side chair, an eight-sided center table, a desk and a large library table. During the preview an oil on canvas by New Hampshire artist Sid Bickford, circa 1890, of two brook trout was sold, as was a rare form Old Hickory desk. Among the canoe paddles displayed, a pair in bird’s-eye maple left the booth.
Sholl Antiques of Norwood, N.Y., showed a collection of rustic and tramp art picture frames, along with a few small pieces of furniture including stands and stools. An interesting piece of Twentieth Century folk art was also shown, a coil of colorful and folded gum wrappers that took on the look of a braided rug. When stretched out, the string of wrappers measured 450 feet.
Several other craft pieces, or really out and out reproductions such as carved and painted fish, trade signs, candleholders, etc., snuck their way into a few of the booths and were not worth the space they took up.
It is little wonder the show draws close to 3,500, many of them eager to enhance their collections with “finds” among the 79 dealers occupying 120 spaces. Many people left the site with a package in hand, the shipper was busy bubble-wrapping pieces too large to carry, and everyone was enjoying the weather without the presence of Isabel. There was a bit of rain prior to the preview on Friday, but “the sun came out in the afternoon for us and again on Saturday,” Jerry Oliver said.
Management also shed light on plans for next year, including the relocation of the large tent near the entrance and road. “We will be moving the large tent up to the pavilion area next year and will have more access to the site from a road that is to be constructed starting this fall,” Jerry said. A real positive move, and one visitors can look forward to next September 17-18. Mark the calendar.
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