The smell of maple candy floss and warm barn hay: After last year’s fall relocation, the Vintage Market Days is back again for their third festival in Rutland, drawing massive crowds to shop for antiques, books and rustic jewels collected by gatherers from around the country.
The Vintage Market Days is a franchise, this one owned by Tulsa native Amanda Wilkinson, who said she started the Vintage Market Days in Vermont two years ago.
“My family has always had estate sales, antique stores, and I’d always grown up around (vintage stuff),” Wilkinson said. “Then when I found this franchise, I was a vendor myself. I thought, ‘How cool would this be to put one on?'”
So, after a fall season in the Burlington area last year, they decided a return to Rutland in the fall was in order, and set about plans to move back into the barns at the Vermont State Fair Grounds for three days this weekend.
Throngs of people filled the halls with their families, dogs and shopping bags ready to take home home-made crafts, glittering old-world jewelry, antique furniture and vintage metal cafe signs.
Carole Bentley’s shop is one of the first on the right upon entering the first barn, where decor galore blossomed from her shelves in the form of Italian lavender bouquets, enormous decorative pinecones, giant antique spinning reels wound with green thread and her boxes of hand-printed linen paper artwork.
“They’re from old antique prints,” Bentley said. “Old plates … and then we scan them, enhance them and print them.”
Old book plates, if you wanted to have them matted and framed, would cost an extensive amount of money to finish professionally, Bentley said.
“I wanted something that you could actually take home with you, and put in a standard five-by-seven or eight-by-ten,” Bentley said.
Bentley, originally from Abington, Massachusetts, does shows full time, traveling to around 18 antique fairs throughout the country throughout the year.
“I participate in a lot of different ones, and this one is a nice one,” Bentley said. “I like it because they have makers and artists mixed-in, too.”
An old Remington Standard sat on a stand hoping for its forever home, as did a Quartz Analog twin bell alarm clock nearby a tower of mismatched steamer trunks, candle holders, penicillin bottles and pillow dolls, just like the dolls grandma used to make.
Leather earrings shaped like leaves danced on the light Vermont breeze, while hand-stitched quilts rippled from the walls and cow hide rugs stacked up for sale in the back of the barn.
Live music from George Nostrand wafted easily from the second barn, but one has to navigate through the smells of fried foods, nachos, breakfast sandwiches and sweet things in order to get there.
But once inside, sweet treats and homestyle country dips and spreads await, as do fully-seasoned antique cast iron pots and skillets, antique pickle crocks, hand-painted glassware and old, faded, cloth-covered books.
One stand to the left of the live music held unique earrings and pendants, each made of a different design on an antique tin.
“I was collecting tins, and my husband was a little annoyed,” said Caroline Horton, owner of Tin Box Jewelry and mother of eight. “I kept saying, ‘They’re so beautiful,’ and he said, ‘So why don’t you wear them?’”
Horton did — she cut up one of the tins and made a pair of earrings, and said she got so many compliments that three years ago, she decided to make the jewelry business her business.
Today, the Rutland Vintage Market Days is one of 36 shows that Horton does every year, and Vermont is one of her favorite venues to sell her pieces.
“The thing I like about this show is the camaraderie between vendors,” Horton said. “We do so many shows and see each other in so many places … and that goes back to the promoter. But I love everything about Vermont, the people are lovely, and everyone appreciates our creativity and the uniqueness of what I do.”
Each of her creations takes about 30 minutes to make, including sanding down each piece with jewelers files.
“I can’t sell you something that will kill you,” Horton said jokingly. “It hurts repeat business.”
Horton said she acquires her materials mostly through estate sales, and everyone’s grandma had a button box or a cookie tin.
“The quality is amazing,” Horton said of tin. “There’s a nostalgia factor … and you’re reclaiming, repurposing, reusing, because once the tins aren’t food-safe, there’s only so much you can do with them.”
Saratoga Springs shopper Jennifer Eads said she draws inspiration from vintage markets for her own creations, and took away some chalk-coutour materials to make her own crafts to sell at markets.
“I just started doing flea markets,” Eads said. “You can use this (chalk couture) on anything.”
Glens Falls resident Lisa Fearis of the Facebook page Vintage Flair said the vintage pocketbooks were the thing to add to her collection, but also comes to the fair to support her friend who is a vendor.
“We loved it (the first time),” Fearis said of her return to the fair. “I’ve just always love vintage and refinishing furniture … and old-school stuff."