Blockbuster antiques week in tiny Texas towns ropes in dealers and buyers
ROUND TOP, Texas – Round Top Antiques Week, in a tiny Texas village, was somewhere between good and very good for virtually all the exhibiting dealers — with a few “outstandings” thrown in here and there. The Round Top event has surpassed seven days over the past decade with a lot of early action. This year the show started March 19.
Antique Trader arrived late in the afternoon March 26, at Sterling McCall Antique Showplace for an invitation-only evening. The general public entered March 27 for eight more days at this show’s premier.
Sterling McCall had been collecting Cadillac cars for some time, storing more than 70 in two metal sided barns in Round Top. Recently he decided to sell his collection and turn the Cadillac Museum into an antiques showplace managed by Kathy Johnston.
This inaugural event had more than 40 exhibitors offering early American antiques with great variety including furniture, fine art and prints, earthenware, glass and folk art.
The sales at this initial show were regarded by dealers and Show Manager Kathy Johnston as “good or even better than that.” Johnston has already increased the show for the fall to include the other two buildings on the site, more than doubling its size for the fall dates. To reach her call 832-671-7821 or e-mail email@example.com or on the Web at www.sterlingmccallantiques-events.com.
On the weekend the first stops were several open fields, that is, fields or sheds that have no admission charge. Coles is among the biggest indoor facilities on the country highway.
With more than 150 booths inside another metal walled building, the dealers can set out collections that would not survive Texas’s spring weather. Textiles, glass and earthenware, paper and ephemera, and furniture were all offered. Activity in the early part of the week’s events inspired dealers and left them optimistic about their anticipated results, with the first day or two having been a good start.
Blue Hills Antiques Market has several metal roofed sheds filled with antiques and fine art. The action there was good with the art holding special praise from buyers.
There is an area in Round Top, in the center of the village, where it becomes difficult to keep track of where the boundaries are from one field to another. It probably doesn’t matter, unless you’re trying to find some piece that you should have purchased the first time through.
These fields generally offer 19th century antiques in good quantity, and for the determined shopper there are earlier antiques and some European collections as well. However, the largest collections of earliest American antiques are found in the shows that open later in the week.
Tuesday morning, Marburger Farm Antiques Show opened with its nearly 400 exhibitors in seven tents and 12 buildings. Dealer comments according to co-owner Rick McConn were very good: “They told me sales were good and we did have an outstanding gate with a total admission 20 percent higher than ever before.” He added, “we had good weather, good crowds and good selling, which may have been assisted by the fact that it was Easter Week with many people having days off from their work and time to spend at the show.” The show ran March 30 through April 3, the day before Easter Sunday.
The morning of March 30 there was a great buzz from both the growing crowds waiting to enter the shows and dealers making their last-minute preparations. An hour after the opening — even though visitors had been driving onto the field since 8 a.m. — there was a 2.2 mile backup in each direction of stop-and-go traffic entering the field.
For information on the fall event visit www.roundtop-marburger.com or call 800-999-2148.
Rifle Hall Antiques Show, managed by Ralph Willard, opened March 30 with a large party, live music, food and refreshments. The dealers here are a steady bunch; most have been in this show for many years without fail and have a faithful following for their antique merchandise. Over the years, however, the sentiment has developed that this show needed some kind of change. The dealers and Willard had long discussions on the subject and have decided to change the show’s schedule this fall. Rifle Hall will be opening Sept. 24 and closing the evening of Sept. 26 the weekend prior to The Original Round Top Antiques Festival, a.k.a. The Big Red Barn and Marburger Farm.
Started in the 1960s, the Original Round Top Antiques Festival (commonly known as “The Big Red Barn”), which was held March 31-April 3, 2010, is the foundation show for all of the antiques shows at Round Top, Warrenton, Carmine and the other surrounding villages. Susan and Bo Franks bought this event and facility 2005, adding to The Big Red Barn two large tents, the Big Top Tent and Continental Tent, creating a selling venue for about 300 dealers. The Festival includes the very first of all the Round Top shows, at Carmine Dance Hall with about 20 exhibitors just a few miles away.
Results this spring according to Susan Franks were “up over last year and as I recall the best gate totals [visitors] since we have owned the show.” Her dealers were also pleased with the sales for the nearly week long activity she said, adding “we had a couple dealers who were running out of antique furniture, another who restocked almost their whole exhibit in Carmine and smalls [small antiques] were selling well too.”
For information on future Round Top Antiques Festival, call Susan at 512-237-4747 or visit www.roundtoptexasantiques.com.
Look for the Round Top Antiques Week in the fall with the first of the shows opening Sept. 24 and concluding Oct. 2. Fields open in many cases days or even a week earlier. There is no single website for the events but the Round Top Chamber of Commerce can help. It is available at roundtop.org or by calling 888-368-4783 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. ?
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