Attendance booming at Ohio’s Country Living Fair Sept. 16-17, 2011

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Cari Cucksey, the star of the cable TV show “Cash and Cari,” was exhibiting at Country Living Fair with the other part of her business, Re-Purpose, an antiques and recycling shop in Northville, Mich. All photos courtesy Tom O’Hara

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Stella Show Promotions filled Ohio Village, the State’s historical reproduction village, with The Country Living Fair for the fourth year at this site. Open for the weekend of September 16-18 the Friday attendance topped 10,000 which was typical of the tremendous draw this show has had for its six year history.

Jean Stella, speaking with Antique Trader early on Saturday morning during the show said “we were worried that with the flooding in our New Jersey office just a week before leaving for this show we might have had some problems, but the show is going just great! Fantastic crowds, good sales for the dealers and it seems that the [attendees] were happy with what they saw, what they did and what they were buying.”

Exhibitors at the show fall into three categories: food, antiques dealers, crafters and artisans. Crafters and artisans are at the front of the show grounds with crafts ranging from weaving to high fashion to furniture and toy makers with a great deal in between. Food was in two categories: food products to take home for special purposes and special recipes and food prepared onsite to enjoy as a meal that day or to take home.

country living fair september 2011
Visiting shortly before opening of the show’s second day, exhibitors were recovering from the delightfully strenuous day before with 10,000 visitors and great sales. Here Urban Farm House was putting their exhibit together again for the Saturday crowd.

The antiques dealers are grouped in the back of the show and most have been at one or more of the prior Country Living Fairs, so they knew what to expect from attendees. Bruce Knight, the owner of Heart of Ohio Antique Center, in nearby Springfield, was selling a mixture of antiques and some collectibles for home décor. The sales of the first day were so strong he, his wife Vivilyn, and their staff were busy restocking Saturday morning. They were both very animated in their reporting that the customers were buying well, and that the purchases were small things in the majority.

anchor hocking fire king

Antiques exhibits and the exhibitors were focused on small items which set a tone for the décor of a room or even the whole house. While shabby chic is not the ubiquitous term to describe all of the décor offered at the show, many antique pieces were shown slightly repurposed for modern living. A small row boat or canoe was set resting on its transom, with seats turned into shelves; old tool boxes and work benches now ready to use in kitchens as cabinets and countertops: furniture and benches from factories, with fresh bright paint, were offered as kitchen or bar stools and patio accessories.

In one case, a factory cart, with a top about counter high, was offered with the suggestion it house a gas grill, giving a small living area the flexibility to roll it out on to a balcony or terrace. Bunk beds were made from industrial shelveing, drawers included. Heart of Ohio offered a wide chest with three columns of drawers, four drawers to each column, all in a variety of paint colors on turned early 19th Century feet. St. Louis exhibitor, Jo Ann Culbertson, found a pair of heavy work stands with a flat plank door laid over them to creati a table seating eight or 10.

There were many antiques in original primitive finishes as well. A Virginia hunt board was in its original finish, offered at $7,800 by Geraldine Carr of Norfolk, Va., showing its age but holding up well.

Bette Blau of Antiques at the River in Barryville, N.Y., was offering more antique furniture than her tent would hold.  An early primitive pine drop leaf table offered for less than $400 was among her inventory.

Traveling from Eddyville, Ky., Tricia Letempt was showing an assortment of textiles, furniture and household accessories from the 18th and 19th centuries. Early linens from several exhibitors including a colorful selection offered by La Cigale of Mt. Gretna, Pa., originally came from Europe.

HGTV’s Cash and Cari, the estate sale television program was there live and in person. Cari [she pronounces it kaah-ri] was exhibiting in tent filled with antiques and early home furnishings from RePurpose, her shop in Northville, Mich. Cari, on her show, which airs at 7:30 p.m. EST on Sundays, conducts tag sales, estate sales and also has a large shop selling antiques, vintage and more household goods, from their own inventory and consignments.

Stella resume’s its management of the Country Living Fair  in Atlanta at Stone Mountain Park come Oct. 21-23, 2011. Another show is coming April 2012 in Austin, Texas. Details and advance ticket sales are available at Stella Shows, Country Living or call 866-500-3247.

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