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The Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market Extravaganza

Don Johnson | May 17th, 2013


American art pottery is always available at the Extravaganza. These Rookwood Vellum glaze scenic vases offered by Jack and Luane McAuliffe of Fancy That Antiques, Marshall, Michigan, ranged from $2200 to $4900 each.


Traditional antiques can be found at the Vintage Marketplace. Tricia Le Tempt of The Red Door Antiques, Eddyville, Kentucky, asked $325 for the double-sided painted wood sign for Whittier Cash Market and $825 for the potting or sorting table.


Because of the flea market element, Springfield offers a little of everything. This tiger maple corner cupboard, priced at $2450 from Mike Shock of Fort Defiance Antiques, Defiance, Ohio, was across the drive from a dealer selling bent-wire yard decorations.


Their condition was great, but their small size made these cast-iron urns especially nice. About 16" high and in the original green surface, the pair was offered at $495 by Jeff and Carol Reinhard of The Country Peddler, Plain City, Ohio. The urns were also fresh to the market, having been acquired by the Reinhards two weeks before the show.


Found at the Vintage Marketplace, the clock faces had various prices, while the jars of clock parts ranged from $49 to $89. They were shown by Mickey McKelvey of Romantique Boutique, Erie, Pennsylvania.


Made at the state prison in Jackson, Michigan, these unmarked hickory armchairs were $195 each from STC Finds, Carmel, Indiana. The chairs were seen at the Vintage Marketplace.


While her husband handles toys and advertising, Sandra Moore of ’Tiques & Toys specializes in jewelry and Bakelite. Made of plastic, the nude mermaids charm bracelet from the 1950’s cost $110, while the Bakelite horse pin was $195.

It was the right season for wicker. The 1930’s armchair and a matching settee (not shown) were $495 the set. The fernery, designed for a hanging birdcage, had its original tin insert and was $285; the hanging birdcage was offered separately at $75. All were shown by Jake and Judy Wilson of J & J Antiques, Germantown, Ohio.

Springfield, Ohio

The earworm started early and lasted all day. It seemed only fitting. Somewhere in the dense, disorienting fog that greeted buyers and sellers on the first day of the Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market's Extravaganza, held May 17-19 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in east central Ohio, a song pushed its way to the top of my brain and refused to budge.

The voice was that of Mandy Patinkin, who played the character Ché when Evita debuted on Broadway. The song was “And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out).” For hours, snippets of verses and repeats of the chorus clanged about in my mind, like small stones in a rock tumbler.

The song starts this way, “And the money kept rolling in from every side.” It uses a repeating chorus, “Rollin’ on in, rollin’ on in,” and later, “Rollin’ on out, rollin’ on out.” And it has a later verse, “When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books / You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks.”

And so it seemed at the Extravaganza. From the start of the day, when shoppers paid $12 to get in the gate between 7 a.m. and noon, sales appeared to be brisk. When the $7 regular admission kicked in, things only intensified.

Filling approximately 2000 spaces, the May show was the largest since Jenkins Management took over the event in 1999. “We’ve clearly been doing everything we can to grow the show the last couple of years,” said promoter Jon Jenkins. “I think the market conditions are right for it.”

One big boost to the show has been the addition of the Vintage Marketplace, a grouping of dealers who carry everything from antiques to steampunk to decorator items. Now filling 110 spaces, the Vintage Marketplace first came to Springfield in May 2012. “Repurposed” is a buzzword with the sellers, who have developed a base of customers such as the woman overheard saying she was going to use shutters to make a headboard for her bed.

Merchandise that’s not antique isn’t a problem at Springfield, where the contemporary mix during the Extravaganza ranged from sunglasses to hanging plants. Jenkins estimated that 10% to 15% of the merchandise is flea market material.

He sees those goods as having positive effects by attracting shoppers who otherwise might not attend an antiques show. “I say the same thing about that as I say about the Vintage Marketplace. If we can get consumers shopping someplace other than the mall, they can see antique and vintage elements.” The dots connect from there. Only after potential buyers are exposed repeatedly to antiques are they likely to want to buy them.

Collectibles were a mainstay at the Extravaganza, as could be seen at booths filled with cartoon glasses or model cars. Sometimes the lines blurred. One seller offered eight-track tapes, including City to City by Gerry Rafferty, and vintage rolls for a player piano, with a copy of “He Leadeth Me” on top.

While not in every booth, antiques were well represented. Among the traditional fare were cobalt-decorated stoneware, country furniture, and textiles. The mix included Art Deco and American art pottery, cast-iron objects that ranged from toys to garden urns, and items as diverse as daguerreotypes and coin-operated devices.

Sales seemed brisk, with many purchases stuffed into the wheeled wire baskets that collectors dragged across the fairground’s paved drives and green lawns. As a word of warning to those without much patience, at times it felt as if half the shoppers were hauling around those devilish carts, creating an impenetrable wall that proved to be the bane of anyone trying to move quickly through the marketplace.

On the plus side, filled carts can be seen as a positive sign, especially for dealers taking in the cash. Remember the earworm? “And the money kept rolling in from every side.”

As the day went on at the Extravaganza, the fairgrounds filled, the buying intensified, the carts multiplied, and the money kept “rollin’ on in, rollin’ on in.”

Of course, not every day is a holiday. The three-day Extravaganza happens twice a year in Springfield, May and September. Otherwise, the monthly antiques show and flea market draws up to 300 to 400 dealers. “It can be half that if it rains or if it’s cold,” Jenkins said.

He’s quick to point out that the Extravaganza and the regular market “are completely different animals.”

“They are related, but they’re distant cousins,” he said. Both offer indoor spaces. The Extravaganza fills the fairgrounds with outdoor dealers, compared to a limited number of plein-air merchants the rest of the time, with the outcome largely determined by the weather.

Jenkins described another difference between the Extravaganza and the regular monthly event. “The monthly shows—we’re competing with other monthly markets in the Midwest. The Extravaganza competes with Brimfield and Round Top. I still think Springfield is the most economical of all those shows. Springfield is three days, one show, easy in, easy out, and a low price point.”

He touted the Extravaganza for another reason—the gate, which he said was over 20,000 in May. “I’m pretty confident that Springfield probably will get the largest gate by your booth of any show in the country. If you look at Brimfield, there are more people, but it’s spread out over a week and twenty different shows. Round Top is multiple towns, multiple shows, and multiple weeks.”

With the Extravaganza having grown about 75 spaces per year over the last three years, something is working for Jenkins. One thing is certain: the people (and their money) keep rolling in.

For more information about the Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market, phone (937) 325-0053 or visit the Web site (www.springfieldantiqueshow.com).


Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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