What’s better is that New York’s scenic Chenango Valley hosts Madison-Bouckville Antique Week (MBAW) in August and it just happens to coincide with the Chenango Blues Fest. I was unaware of the latter when I drove up this weekend to attend the former. Trust me. I won’t be fooled again.
MBAW was on my to-do list for years since it appears regularly in Martha Stewart Living magazine. The Domestic Doyenne routinely dispatches staff to the festival to acquire the beautiful objects she features in her intimidating magazine. The latest mention came in the August 2012 issue, “Central New York provides a rustic backdrop for the state’s largest antiques show.” Large doesn’t begin to adequately describe the scale of this event. As advertised, over 2000 vendors participate, sprawled all along Route 20. My friend Nina and I bravely did our best to finger as much junk as possible during 5 hours, but determined that at least two days are necessary if you want to try on every Shriners fez.
And you should definitely have a relatively firm shopping list. It’s much too easy to get distracted by Bakelite bangles, barber chairs with razor strops, and bizarre flotsam and jetsam, like this:
Demonstrating uncharacteristic self-restraint, I was able to walk away from Scary Clown. Salvaged tin ceiling tiles were purchased however, schlepped back to the car and mounted quickly so as to not become “the things we trip over in the garage.”Since we’d passed on the “food” at the festival (fried dough and elephant’s ears), Nina and I shared some other questionable nutrition – wings, taters and Saranac beer – at Ye Olde Pizza Pub, one of our college haunts, before heading home in opposite directions. Passing through Norwich, I stumbled across the Chenango Blues Fest. At first I thought the tents were a tribe of rogue antiquers, homesteading on virgin pasture. However, the music drifting through the summer night air made me realize that something else was in play.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary (2012 marked the 41st anniversary of Antiques Week), the Fest’s performances began on Friday and ended late in the evening on Saturday with this year’s headliner JJ Grey and Mofro.
Since Antique Week and Blues Fest are well established events, I have every confidence they’ll be around next year so I’m already making plans. Camping sites for the weekend in Norwich are very affordable at $35; $45 for RVs. I have a funny feeling that Scary Clown may be riding shotgun.