Antiques Show continues to draw them back

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The 74th annual Glen Ridge Antiques Show will take place at the Glen Ridge Congregational Church on Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1. According to the show’s manager, Debbie Turi, it is the longest uninterrupted antique show in the state and possibly the country.

It will feature 34 vendors, the same number as last year and, in fact, the same vendors as last year.

“They’re all coming back!” Turi said in a telephone interview last week. “It’s phenomenal. This just doesn’t happen.”

Turi should know this. It is her fourth year running the Glen Ridge show, but she is also a dealer who sees the ebb and flow of colleagues. She is also seeing more mid-century modern furniture being displayed.

“Mid-modern is a style, from the mid-’50s to the late-’60s,” she said. “It’s more industrial in flavor with chrome, molded plastic and glass.”

The dealer with the most years at the Glen Ridge show is David Cowell of Lovely Living Antiques, who will be returning. Cowell has been with the show since 1984 and said in a telephone interview earlier this week that 74 years in the same place is a good sign that people support the show.

“And it’s held its quality,” he said. “It’s not a flea market by any means.”

A change he has seen affecting the antiques trade is that dinner parties are coming back. Because of this, according to Cowell, people are beginning to see their dining room tables as artistic centers of the home and, consequently, buy quality settings to present beautiful designs.

“People are a little off on sterling,” Cowell said, “but at 30, they don’t want paper plates.”

He also said there is a theory that people do not want to purchase brown furniture — furniture made from wood. But in Glen Ridge, that does not necessarily hold true, because of period houses that grace the borough, he said. Cowell, who displays six or seven times a year, says that, at the show this weekend, he will bring furniture and sterling he has not shown before in Glen Ridge.

Turi said all the dealers are returning because of her.

“I do a good job,” she said. “We get people in the door. Last year, we had just under 1,100 people. It’s become quite an event in the antique business. We have a long waiting list for dealers to get into the show.”

But overall, she said business is declining for several reasons: dealers are aging out and not being replaced, and there is a waning interest in antiques. Publicity is also changing, with social media more often used.

“We’re cutting back on print, unfortunately,” Turi said. “We do send out postcards and have a mailing list. People under 40 don’t read the newspaper.”

Although the show will not feature an appraiser this year, the always well-received lunches and dinners will be served. Lunch will be a choice of butternut squash or corn chowder, both served with a tossed salad, and Asian, Cuban or Italian sliders. For dinner, two stews will be offered.

The show hours are 10 a.m to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday. An admission fee will be charged.

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