Published: September 7, 2004
The Maine Antiques Festival at Union Maine Fairgrounds was, for the 23rd consecutive summer, a hit with buyers and dealers. Show manager Paul Davis of Coastal Promotions said they had near record numbers of both dealers and visitors in spite of dire weather predictions for the show weekend, August 13-15. By Friday setup and early buying at 2 pm the rain had already stopped. Saturday was an outstanding weather day – cool and sunny – and the hurricane predicted for Sunday never came although there was some rain scattered throughout the day.
Davis said, “Although we don’t keep daily records of attendance, the parking lot for this year’s show was two acres larger then ever before and it was full by late morning Saturday. Space for dealers was nearly sold out and food vendors were working at capacity all day Saturday and most of Sunday.”
This event has been a summer fixture to the Midcoast of Maine for 23 years now. A source for folks looking to furnish their homes, it also attracts decorators shopping on behalf of clients and collectors of antiques. Dealers are there to sell but also to replenish stock. One local dealer said the show “…has been my place to sell a lot but also to spend all the money I take in for more antique merchandise.”
In more than 370 spaces filled with antiques from more than 350 dealers there were antiques of nearly every description. Country style was the predominant look but by no means the only one for the show. Dennis Easter is from Palm Beach, Fla., and carries Russian icons and artifacts; his sales were more than $30,000. Bittersweet Antiques of Springfield, Vt., is the antiques business of Elizabeth and Jim Dunn. Their merchandise is English transfer ware and porcelain, dishes and bocage figurines. Jim also produces several antiques shows in Vermont, including Cabin Fever in the winter and The Bromley Mountain Antiques Show during Vermont Antiques Week in October.
England is the primary source for Tom Crawford’s stained and leaded glass windows. The Allentown, Penn., dealer was here for the first time and has already booked his hotel for next year.
Dennis Napolitan is a Cambridge, Md., dealer who has just opened his own shop there named Wm G. Willikers. Exhibiting at Union for the first time he said, “It was good. I did enough that given the weather I’ll be back as I made some good sales.” He carries a wide variety of household and garden antiques in the shop and on his road show. His wife is Sims Rogers, who produces a few shows in Maryland.
Bud Hughes, I-Deal Antiques had been out of the business for a few month with some health issues so this was his first time in a show since early May. His sales were good in American Country style antiques and accessories. His setup was in conjunction with a few friends including Yvonne and Jim Tucker, Davidson N.C., who also sold well. Their collection included early mocha ware, yellowware and some furniture. The Tuckers are the principals of Antiques and Collectables Dealers Association, an organization that offers benefits to its members including communicating with governments and insurance companies for their inventory and business liability.
Robert Sheldon, Sandy Hook, Conn., had a large collection of early American furniture together with early stoneware and pottery. He often is seen with majolica and various forms of early glass but furniture is his mainstay and at this show he had several early pieces from Connecticut. Painted furniture is typically the focus for Sandi and George Goldring, Essex Junction, Vt. Their inventory on display included an early painted dry sink and a funky lawn chair in red and yellow paint.
Blue Dog seems to fit right into the early eastern antiques mode with their collection. Judi and Sy Stellmach moved from Minnesota to Stafford Springs, Conn., recently and do a great many Eastern shows. Here they had an early sofa, a blue painted step-back cupboard and a painted corner cupboard.
Ken Ware and Kathy Hanlon, Ware House Antiques of Boylston Mass., brought an early mule chest, aka blanket chest, that was very artfully decorated in a grain motif. Their stock included several early American made chests of drawers. Hermitage Antiques, Harrison, Maine, had an early step back hutch originally painted with red milk paint, which had been so rubbed down over time it had just a red cast to it without the painted look.
Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz, Greenwich, N.J., came in with a collection of primitive American small antiques and a few pieces of furniture. Their dedication to the business is such that they produce several shows in the Delaware Valley of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Pat Robie, Cherry Hill Antiques, Grafton N.H., had four Nineteenth Century game boards. Janet Taylor Bittersweet Antiques of Waverly, Penn., offered early brass and silver rdf_Descriptions for accessories on the dining table. Ali Rickstrew, Russellville, Ky., had a collection of soft paste dishes and early American Clay. Glen Rice, Higganum, Conn., offered a flax wheel in bright yellow paint, ready to use.
Union is for many of the dealers a working vacation, and, due to its size, it is also a mecca for many other antiques show promoters to farm the dealers – that is come up to find new dealers for their shows. Being only 20 miles from the coast of Maine there are many vacation places where they congregate for the long weekend with lobster cookouts and more. For example, in one motel, The Jenkins Family (Farmington and Nashville), Ted and Diane Jones (Atlantique City), Irene Stella, Leanne Stella and more set up headquarters for several nights of good company and good food.
For next year Paul Davis has not yet finished finalizing details with The Union Fairgrounds as to the exact date. The landlords have their annual Blueberry Fair a week following his Maine Antiques Festival and have been encouraging him to have the antiques show a week earlier. For 2005 that would be August 5-7 rather than the traditional date pattern which would be August 12-14. He expects to have this worked out in the next few weeks and will make the appropriate announcements. For information, 207-563-1013 or .
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