Antique dealers react to sale of Madison-Bouckville site
The Madison-Bouckville Outdoor Antique Show brought tens of thousands of tourists to Madison County every August for nearly 40 years, but next year could be different. The land the show is held on has been sold, and so far no one has stepped forward to take over the event. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us how local antique dealers are coping with the potential blow to business and what's next for the show's former site.
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MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Depot Antique Gallery in Bouckville normally sees a steady stream of business during the weekends, but nothing compared to the crowd of 20,000 generated every year by the Madison-Bouckville Outdoor Antique Show.
"They did a lot of shopping, and then they seemed to come out and filter through the town," said Gerald Rider, owner of Gerald Rider Antiques and a participant in the smaller show that takes place at the same time as the Madison-Bouckville event.
The show's director, Jock Hengst, says he wanted to sell the show and the 95 acres it's held on together, but after five years, there were no takers.
The sale of the property to White Eagle Farms closed last week. No one has stepped forward to take over the show, and Hengst says its end could mean a substantial economic blow to the area.
"It was a great sales tax generator for Madison County and New York State. We had dealers from all over the northeast and coming from as far away as Europe," said Hengst.
Local antique dealers say they'll miss the show, but are hopeful Route 20's reputation as an antique center will continue to draw shoppers like Joan Noetzel. She says she's never heard of the Madison-Bouckville show, but makes stops in the area to browse the one-of-a-kind items.
"Just the volume of antiques. There are so many antiques here and malls, all kinds of stuff, the variety of items," said Noetzel.
"We have shops and we are gonna be established here year-round, and we are gonna continue the August show with fields that are close by," said Rider.
The land's new owner says there are no definite plans for the site yet, but doesn't rule out the possibility of future antique shows.
"If somebody wants to talk to me about doing something continuing with the antique field or something else, you know different kinds of shows, I'd be willing to talk to most anybody," said Ed Carhart, owner of White Eagle Farms.
For now, antique lovers will just have to wait to learn if treasures from the past have a place in the future of these fields.