Published: September 4, 2012
The fairgrounds of this small inland village filled again for the 31st consecutive year on the second weekend of August for the Maine Antiques Festival, where more than 200 exhibiting antiques dealers in tents, sheds and buildings offered their collections. This year for the first time, show promoter Paul Davis had an area and special tent for “repurpose,” as he called it, where dealers were offering old materials made into fresh objects, especially clothing.
“We had a really good time this year, with good growth in the number of dealers and a strong audience and what they were buying,” said Davis. He added, “A Connecticut dealer sold an early blockfront Massachusetts desk Friday afternoon; furniture was nearly all gone from several dealers. The buyers that came, while only about the same in numbers as last year, were there to buy!” He also commented that while the weather was predicted to be bad, no rain fell during the show hours Friday and Saturday, and only a light shower dampened Sunday, suggesting the weather did not hurt show attendance.
Union, the name by which the show is best known, opened Friday afternoon, August 10, for a premium three-day admission fee with several hundred shoppers at each of the gates. These first-over-the-liners made Friday the best day for most of the exhibiting dealers, with many of the weekend’s best sales.
Many dealers in the show are Maine shop owners who participate not only for the direct sales but also to publicize their shops elsewhere in the area. Pat Stauble of Stauble & Chambers Antiques in Wiscasset was exhausted from her several prior days of exhibiting in Manchester, N.H., and loading for this show as well. She did have good sales here, though, with some furniture and many early smalls finding new homes.
Country Squire Antiques, Gorham, Maine, sold very well, according to Jane and Ed Carr, owners of the business. Jane added that sales included a large cupboard, two chests of drawers, a couple of small tables and lots of smalls. The Carrs are among the few that have done the show since the start, although Ed did say he thought they may have had to miss it once some years ago.
Collections were the apparent theme for Bjorn Borssen, an exhibitor from Rochester, N.H. His assorted inventory included an early New England kitchen worktable with pine top and hardwood Hepplewhite-style legs, some old wooden skis, an early bellows in wood and leather, many more smalls and a six-drawer pantry cabinet in its original surface.
Aidan and Liam Skillman were busy working with the oversight of their parents, Karen and Greg, arranging their exhibit in the shed. The Gardiner, Maine, family was showing an assortment of antiques and collectibles that ranged from an early Twentieth Century sled to earlier textiles and household accessories, all from this family’s business.
Pennyroyal Antiques, Rockland, Maine, found an early spinning wheel with a complete fiddlehead. Patricia Ann Breame, Woodstock, Maine, had several tables filled with her small antique stoneware, dishes and early flatware, while the walls in her exhibit had assorted artwork. B&B Johnson Antiques, Kennebunk, Maine, was offering large Federal and Regency period furniture, including a large sideboard in mahogany and other decorative woods, and a Sheraton-influenced chest of drawers with glove box drawers set on top.
Union attracts just as many dealers from outside the area to exhibit and sell. Bob Hartman, proprietor of Country Huzzah, Burke, Va., was selling well with a collection of small antiques, no furniture. His sales included folk art, an early mechanical bank and more “good things that cost real money,” he said. One of his best sales was a late Nineteenth Century windmill weight in the form of a rooster in great paint decoration, which went to a shopper from out of the area.
Higganum House Antiques, Higganum, Conn., was in the dealer’s usual place. Of particular interest was a variety of cast iron door stops, wooden door stops and even some gnomes, which were either for the garden or used as door stops.
Dealers from the Ironstone Antiques Shop in Chester, Vt., Adin Poole and Tim Brigham were selling furniture and smalls. Their collection was dominated by the early New England furniture, but with color supplied by some painted pieces and also early stoneware and blue transfer ware. A bright green trestle table on the side was covered with a tapered stack of boxes in assorted paint colors. A tilt top tea table in a dark hardwood stood as a sentry at the front of their exhibit beside an aisle that led to an early stepback hutch filled with pewter and dishes and an early Queen Anne-style tap table showing an early silver service.
Wigwam Hill Antiques, Wilbraham, Mass., shared a large tent, showing a collection of early furniture, including a pair of period comb back Windsor side chairs placed beside an early worktable with a backdrop of stoneware and dishes. The firm’s partner in the other half of the tent was Hartman House Antiques, East Bridgewater, Mass. Among the antiques here was a pair of early railroad station benches, the kind with backs that flipped over to allow sitters to change direction in the station waiting room.
Davis’s “repurpose” tent featured several more dealers that showed later merchandise made from early materials. Donna Shannon, Chapel Hill, N.C., had good sales with children’s clothing and some holiday-themed pillows. Tiauana Stoltzfus of New Hampshire was selling clothing also made from vintage materials and Michelle Piccolo, Ware, Mass., had early Twentieth Century table linens.
In one big top tent, ten friends sold a wide variety of early antiques and collectibles. Your Grandma Had It, Brooklyn, N.Y., was offering early ironstone and children’s marble games. Mary Maguire, Lyme, Conn., had art and prints. South Road Antiques of New York City specializes in folk art, selling several early pieces during the show. Judy Shannon, Baltimore, Md., offered early paper and ephemera along with assorted toys. Two sides of A River, New London, N.H., sold from a collection of early New England tools and also early Nineteenth Century oak furniture.
Maine Antiques Festival “on balance was a success in this market,” concluded Davis, with a good dealer collection and good crowds. Look for it again next year on the second weekend of August.
For more information, www.pauldavisshows.com or 207-221-3108.
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