Steve Sabo with a vintage Grateful Dead banner
Keith Emack and Kerri Phillips with a folk art stag head.
Show manager Greg Baecker chats with Karen Marquis of Marquis Modern.
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Review and Photos By David S. Smith
NEW MILFORD, CONN. â Although the field at the Elephantâs Trunk Country Flea Market was only about one-third filled this past Sunday, November 2, the parking area was overflowing with the vehicles of prospective buyers anxiously seeking an end-of-the-year âfind.â According to show manager Greg Baecker, the market, touted as âConnecticutâs best and largest flea market,â will remain open through December 14, unless a ground-covering snow occurs, in which case the market will close for the year as of that date.
Although the temperature was somewhat brisk in the early morning hours on Sunday, everyone was scurrying about and wasting precious little time chatting, but picking over the merchandise instead. Dealers make their way onto the field prior to daybreak, early buyers hit the field at the same time, usually around 5:30 am.
Sales seemed to be healthy and the assortment of merchandise ranged from good to interesting â with a dash of the downright âcuriousâ thrown in for good measure. There is a mix of new and old, although the vast majority of the dealers offer wares that qualify as anything from collectibles to antiques.
Tables, chairs, desks and a host of other items were seen as they were âcartedâ away throughout the early hours, packed into cars waiting in the shopper-friendly loading zones provided by the Elephantâs Trunk management.
Brookfield dealer Karen Marquis was seen chatting with the promoter early in the morning. Doing business as Marquis Modern and offering a good selection of materials from the 1950s through to the 1980s, she commented that a new large retail space in Bridgeport is in her future and that she will also be renting props for the up-and-coming movie industry that is forming in southwestern Connecticut.
Keith Emack and Kerri Phillips, Saybrook Recycled Furniture, offered a folky carved wood deer head with cast iron antlers and ears. A selection of prints, paintings and early American smalls was also attracting attention from the crowd.
âI know the hippie that climbed the pole and took it down,â proclaimed Steve Sabo of the large Grateful Dead hand painted oil cloth banner that was offered from his booth. âIt came from a show at the Golden Gate Park in 1969,â said the dealer, who added that it was priced at $400.
Other items of interest seen around the field included a good selection of stoneware, appearing in numerous booths; a nice assortment of early American historical flasks, bitters and other bottles; several dealers displayed Lionel trains, many with their original boxes; there were a couple of early bicycles from the 1930s and 1940s on the field, including a desirable green painted model by Firestone that was priced at $125; and there was some good sporting material that ranged from a pair of motorcycle racing pants from the 1960s to early baseball equipment.
Antlers, bear skin rugs and camp items were also abundant, along with an assortment of furniture that included Queen Anne, Shaker, Arts and Crafts, Victorian and Modern.
Collectibles are a major part of the Elephantâs Trunk offering and there is a huge variety of items ranging from old LP records to Pez containers. Hunting licenses, political pins, Halloween and Christmas ornaments and ornamentation, toys, and virtually anything else on your collecting list is also likely to be seen at some point throughout the year.
On a good day, the Elephantâs Trunk can accommodate 480 dealers; although there were some 400-plus exhibitor days this past summer, they have yet to fill the field in 2008. The Elephantâs Trunk flea market is located on Route 7. For further information 860-355-1448 or www.etflea.com.