Published: October 8, 2002
By R. Scudder Smith
BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, N.Y. — “How can the Adirondack Museum afford to give up such a wonderful and popular moneymaker?” one dealer was overheard saying as a group of dealers discussed the planned move for the show next year. Apparently there is no answer except the museum no longer wants the show on its grounds. “We don’t understand it,” Jerry Oliver of the management team of Oliver and Gannon said, “for the museum did very well and raised lots of money.”
The second concern of the exhibitors, and probably the most important one of the moment, was the weather. “It always rains on the Adirondack Show,” one dealer said on Thursday night, September 26, while enjoying a barbecue at Byron Park, site for the 2003 show. Another dealer said, “I have been watching the weather and it is going south of us.” That, and other fair weather predictions, were washed away during the night and rain was the order of the day on Friday.
Dealers are allowed onto the grounds of the museum on Thursday to bring tents, display tables, etc, but no merchandise. Two large tents are setup by management and many of the dealers elect to use that space, while others are more comfortable under their own tenting. Actual move-in is at 6 am on Friday, and this year it was another real wet one. It all ran very smoothly, however, and exhibitors were ready and waiting when the preview opened at 2 pm and continued for four hours. Tickets for this preview range from $100 to $500 per person and it is a benefit for the museum.
And there were all kinds of things to pick from, some neatly arranged and some helter-skelter. Much of the merchandise was accustomed to water and there was no effort made to cover a canoe, antlers, porch furniture, paddles and oars, and stacks of fishing creels.
Old signs offering “Cottages For Rent” and “Fresh Berries” were displayed by some of the dealers, while other “hangable” rdf_Descriptions included early photos of life in the Adirondacks, Grenfell mats, all breeds of animals heads and the fish that did not get away.
Furniture filled a good number of the booths and tents, ranging from small tables to good-sized dressers, and from benches to all manner of chairs. “Smalls” included everything imaginable including fishing plugs and reels, shotgun shell boxes, arrowheads, souvenir paddles, Indian jewelry and head-dresses, hunting and fishing licenses and advertising rdf_Descriptions, to name but a few.
A misty morning welcomed shoppers on Saturday, but by noon the sun made an appearance and much of the stock that had been sheltered from the rain made it out into the open. More than 4,000 people, a gate up from last year, came out and carried away many of the things brought in the day before by the dealers. Furniture sold at the preview, and also on Saturday, causing one exhibitor to say, “Now I have room to take home the things I bought up here.”
“Most of the dealers are pleased with the move next year and the Village of Indian Lake is real happy about it,” Jerry Oliver said. The new site is only ten miles down Route 28N from Blue Mountain Lake and Byron Park borders the shores of Adirondack Lake. In addition to the covered pavilion, two areas will be tented, allowing 82 exhibitors inside, in addition to those with their own tents. At the museum there was room for only 55 dealers under the cover provided by the management. This year 114 dealers were in the show, but the new facility will have room for more. “We plan to enlarge the show,” Jerry said, and his current waiting list of dealers numbers 60.
A tailgate operation follows this show and many dealers and weekend vendors line the street leading from Blue Mountain to the museum site. “We shop the tailgate before setting up at the main show,” one dealer said, “and often we find something nice.” Mixed in with the people with old and respectable things are a number of sellers with “hot off the lathe” objects.
Without question, the tailgaters will follow the show. Signs are already in place offering space for rent, and the owner of Binders Cottages, right across from the new show, has received many requests for a place on his lawn. Merchants in Blue Mountain will miss a great deal of tourist trade, and in nearby Indian Lake the welcome mat has been rolled out.
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