Saturday, June 28, 2008

Let's Go to a Show!

One of the (literally) coolest places to be in Arizona for the Fourth of July weekend is Flagstaff, at 7,000-foot elevation near the 12,634-foot Humphrey’s Peak,  surrounded by pine forests. And that’s where Wanda and Robert Jones are hosting their 22nd Annual Arizona Antique Show at the Coconino County Fairgrounds. Wanda says booths for this popular show are already sold out, and they’re expecting some 5,000 shoppers at the gate. 

Wanda has been broadcasting a regular segment on “Your Life, A to Z” on Channel KTVK, Channel 3 for the past few years. They also produce shows in Phoenix (still to come, Nov 15-16 and Dec 13-14 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, and Yuma. They're by far the largest antique shows in Arizona, well worth the trip.  

And if shopping 'til you drop isn't enough reason to head for Flagstaff, that same July 4 weekend is the 53rd annual Flagstaff horse races, also at the Fairgrounds.
Almost any antique dealer in the Portland, OR area will tell you the biggest event of the summer will be July 12-13 when Palmer/Wirfs puts on their Antique & Collectibles Show at the Portland Expo. Many stores will close for that weekend so everyone can spend a day or more (the $7 admission covers the weekend) wandering among the 1800 booths shopping for everything from vintage toys to estate jewelry, from vintage clothing to armoires. Too big for a single hall at the Expo, the July Palmer/Wirfs show fills Halls C, D and E, and even spills outside to a huge courtyard outside Hall D. I recommend if you’re going with a friend, take walkie talkies! 
If you're on the East Coast, the Brimfield, Massachusetts mega-fair tent city extravaganza, actually 23 antique fairs in one, is July 14-19. That's right, almost a whole week. Nobody can do it justice, even on roller skates, in a mere weekend. It's the largest antique show in the world, according to one website (there are several). From its beginning in 1959, the Brimfield event has grown to cover a one-mile stretch of Highway 20, each individual show placed on a field owned by one of the neighboring landowners. The town of Brimfield has sanctioned specific dates for each event, one in May, the one in July and the last will be Sept. 8-13 this year. But in spite of the town's efforts at unity, there are pockets of anarchy. Some fields will keep different hours and dates in addition to the official ones, advertised independently. Some allow dogs, others strictly forbid them. Some fields, such as J&J are considered "premium" and charge admission of $5-$6, while others are free. The website mentioned above has a database that may be useful for those looking for specialty items and an active chatroom 
where fairgoers compare notes. 
While on the subject of antique events, I've discovered another blogger on Blogspot who's focusing on antiques and he recently posted on the Randolph Street Market Festival, an urban and somewhat upscale event that used to be called the Chicago Antique Market. Daryl Lambert has probably attended thousands of such events in his 40 years as a collector, author and dealer, and he has this advice for staying focused and avoiding burnout when you're surrounded with antiques: 
Remember to take your time as you approach each booth at a market or flea market, and see if you can pick out the better pieces from a distance. As you practice, you will be able to eye the items that are of interest, and the other items will quickly pass from your eyesight.

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