Antique-Lovers’ Paradise Returns to Petoskey
Ready your wallet and your walking shoes: The sprawling Antiques at the Fairgrounds is back in Petoskey — twice
— and as always, it’ll be chock full of everything from artwork to furniture to unusual souvenirs.
AT THE FAIR
Dave Fraser is a longtime antiques dealer with over 30 years of experience, and he manages this year’s
pair of Petoskey antiques shows with his wife, Lena, from their home in Torch Lake. “Petoskey’s been running
this show for 22 years, and I took it over after Emmet County revamped the fairgrounds,” Fraser explained. “The
show was at NCMC for four years, then I took it over. We have two shows this year — one the first week of July, and
one the first week of August.”
Antiques at the Fairgrounds is a curated show, meaning not just anyone can show up and sell antiques. The dealers
are vetted by Fraser and his crew to make sure there aren’t any reproductions or false antiques being sold. “We
bring in over 170 big dealers from New York, Iowa, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Florida — mainly folks from east of the
Mississippi, plus some dealers from Texas,” Fraser said. “There are four full buildings of dealers, and 14 group
tents outdoors, with several dealers in each tent.”
KEEPING IT REAL
A wide variety of antiques are
offered, with the focus on true antiques and repurposed antiques. No arts and crafts are allowed; antiques are the star
and all are carefully displayed so buyers can get a great view of what’s available. “Some of these dealer’s
booths are like a museum,” Fraser said. “It’s amazing how they get such a large amount of stuff set up
and displayed so quickly. I don’t know how they do it. And I’m often awed by the condition of some of the pieces.
Plus the dealers are really knowledgeable and can often tell you the history of the piece you’re looking at.”
INDUSTRY TO COUNTRY
The newest thing for collectors over the past couple of years has been the industrial look,
Fraser said: “Everything from the industrial side of the 1930s — metal tables on wheels, lots of industrial light
fixtures.” Furniture from Victorian to country-style is another big category, as are china dishes, high-end glass
items, textiles and quilts, and both vintage costume and high-end jewelry. “You’ll also see a lot of outdoor
furniture, especially wicker from the turn of the century, and metal furniture that I call hotel furniture — these
wonderful old metal and enameled pieces from the ’40s and ’50s,” he said. Rustic cottage furniture is
also popular with people who are looking to refurnish their cottage in the style of the era it was built.
Artworks and decorative items are in full force at this market too. “Our dealers offer lots of paintings
by artists from the 1910s to the 1970s,” Fraser said. “And you can also find a lot of architectural salvage
pieces, like finials and newels or iron work.” And you’ll find plenty of unusual items, such as the 1930s outboard
motors sold by one of Fraser’s dealers. “Another one carries these great Old Town canoes out of Maine,”
he said. “But pretty much everything sells, in every category.
You can spent a lot — some of our paintings
go for up to $8,000 — or you can just pick up something great for five or 10 bucks.”
The 2016 Antiques
at the Fairgrounds events will be held July 2–3 and Aug. 6–7. Parking is free, admission is $5 per person for
the weekend. Hours are Saturday 9am–5pm and Sunday 10am–4pm. Food available on site for purchase from Julienne
Tomatoes (of Petoskey) and Bubba’s BBQ (of Wolverine). For more information visit antiquesatthefairgrounds.com.