From the Studio

Vendors from all over the East Coast come together for annual antiques show

Emmy Gnat | Head Illustrator

Antiques from pre-Columbian to mid-century modern times can be found at the show. Booths feature weird, unusual, one-of-a-kind jewelry, said Stephen Allman, promoter of the Salt City Winter Antiques Show.

This weekend the New York State Fairgrounds will experience a surge of nostalgia. Rare books, vintage toys, oil paintings and other items will clutter a thousand-square foot floor space for the biggest indoor antique show in New York — a welcome escape from the winter blues.

With over 275 selected dealers, the Salt City Winter Antiques Show will exhibit a variety of fine antiques on Saturday and Sunday, including the largest collection of cut glass in the United States.

Visitors can find antiques that span from pre-Columbian to mid-century modern times to the 60s and 70s. Several of the jewelry booths will feature weird, unusual, one-of-a-kind jewelry that won’t be found in stores, said Stephen Allman, promoter of the Salt City Winter Antiques Show.

While the event is an entertaining experience for visitors to purchase antiques, Allman said the show serves as an educational purpose as well.

“You wander through there and there’s things from different time periods, and the dealers are generally very knowledgeable about what they have,” Allman said. “You can learn about the things you have by looking at the things they’re selling.”

This year in particular sees the return of an exhibitor from past shows who will sell major collections of vintage quilts that can be used as wall hangings.

The antique show makes its home in a large venue, located inside the Americraft Center of Progress Building on the New York State Fairgrounds. Allman said a featured restaurant makes the event a perfect family outing. Children under age 12 receive free admission. Adult tickets cost $7, while the $8 VIP ticket allows admission for both days: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

With exhibitors from all over the East Coast, as well as Cleveland and Buffalo, New York, Allman cites the appeal of the antique show to its ideal location.

“Syracuse and central New York, for my whole career, has been a hot bed for antiques — it’s not called CNY for nothing” said Allman. “It really is a meeting place, and the location of the New York State Fairgrounds is pretty much the number one location for any current trade show in the state.”

And when it comes to curating exhibitors and antique items for the show, Allman looks at “quality, price and variety.”

One of the show’s exhibitors, Michael Coomes of Judy’s Corner Antiques, sells everything from antique furniture to jewelry to novelty-type items — one such being the whirligig, a toy that simply spins around. Coomes, who has sold antiques for more than 10 years, said he especially enjoys the interactions and connections he makes with visitors.

“What’s fun is you’re selling your customer quality product,” Coomes said. “You want to sell them product that they like, so when they like you and they like your product, they come back.”

Coomes said his love of history attracted him to the antique show business.

“History is one of my favorite things and when you’re dealing with old items, it’s history,” Coomes said. “You wonder the value of it. You enjoy history around it.”

Another exhibitor, Harry Krenitsky of Way We Were Antiques, has been selling antique jewelry, tabletops, glassware and China at the Salt City Antique Show for 30 years. Krenitsky finds the sentimental value of antique items most appealing about this show.

“I think most people come out of there with positive feelings. Nostalgia is like a homesickness,” Krenitsky said. “So they’ll see things that they’ll jog a memory from their childhood and sometimes they want to incorporate it in their own households if they don’t already have it.”

Allman, who describes the show as “going to a mall for antiques,” hopes the show will inspire others to decorate their own homes with antique items.

“From a purely practical standpoint — if you’re looking for utilitarian items for your home or even your dorm room — if you buy an antique, it holds it value,” said Allman. “If you buy a little table to put by your bed, that’s going to hold its value. It’s not going to be junk when you walk out the door.”

The show, which has been running for the past 38 years, is one of the most popular antique shows in the area with over 4,500 in attendance last year. This year, with the warmer than usual weather in Syracuse, Allman jokes that the turnout will be “a little too much.”

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