Tales from Silver Dollar City

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New roads take you to new places and you never know what you’ll see. This was the case when I pulled my van into Silver Dollar City. I entered by Browns Candy Store and made a left by the blacksmith. Take a right past the general store and proceed to the area in front of the Chapel. This was the home of My Vintage Varia for twenty days in September and October. We knew little of what to expect and was hoping for the best.

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Our booth home in September

The one one big attitude promoted at the city is “family.” You are to treat fellow workers and customers as family. There is no smok’n, drink’n or cuss’n in the city. It’s yes ma’am or no ma’am. I will say it made for a very pleasant and calming work environment. Many shows could learn this lesson. Our fellow artisans quickly became friends and some everlasting ones, such as “Just Jenny”, a woman transplanted to the Ozark Hill’s from England. She created fine sewing crafts. On the other side of our booth was Doug the Cooper. He operated the cooperage creating from scratch some excellently built barrels and wooden buckets. A very old craft still done the same way today. There were painters, carvers, crafters, jewelers and all sorts of variety of artisans.

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Doug the Cooper, working his 41st year at the SDC Festival! Many of the vendors had returned for multiple decades. 

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Everyone stopped to watch Doug as he lit the fire and burned the inside of a barrel at twilight. His entire nuclear family attended that night with his grandsons helping hammer down the bands and plane the edges.

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Von, from Wichita, KS uses three sizes of looms to create his capes, shaw’s, throws and scarves from beautiful yarns. Warm weather and rain were not his friends.

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The costume sewing, dressing and fitting room. Pick out your duds here! You received pants, shirts, vests and hats as a gent. Woman wore long prairie dresses, stockings and pantaloons.

We were all dressed to 1880’s period attire and were told to refrain from “contemporary” speech. All booths, decoration, dress and music reflected the historical theme. Each morning at 10 am everyone in the park and vendors gathered around the flagpole to raise the flag, say the national anthem and sing the star spangled banner. We looked forward to this everyday. They would first look for veterans from the military. Each received red, white & blue military ribbon, they lined up and marched toward the flagpole with the applause of the crowd. Once the flag was hoisted, the hats came off and the hands went over the hearts! If you didn’t, you could expect the stink eye from someone as a few young people from Oklahoma learned.

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The thought of being in the Ozarks in Autumn conjured up colored leaves, smoking winding through the trees and a crispness in the air. What we experienced was many climates in one season. It began hot with 95 degrees and heavy humidity. It ended with 40 degrees and mist. In between there were a few wet days where the vendors stayed in the cabins, visited a little and waited for a better day.

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This was our view for eight hours one day. It can get cold in them there hills!

We needed to have our booth open by 8:30 am as the first visitors arrived. The park closed at 6 pm. We parked quite a distance away and was driven to the door and back on a tram . They were long days, some were crowded and some were not. The busiest day was a Saturday in October where the attendance reached over 19,000 visitors!

As craftsman we were responsible for demonstrations daily. While the steps of assembling a clock is difficult on sight, I chose to illustrate some more elaborate designs as my demonstration. First I painted my version of Grant Wood’s American Gothic and then I did my signature flag on a 36”clock. This one sold the next day!

The idea of Silver Dollar City is stepping back in time to the Ozark 1880’s through dress, decor, buildings, language and of course the arts! No one denies the current date but we all did our best to follow through on the theme. My two sisters also helped in many ways as they live in Branson. They also came and worked the booth to take in the whole experience. It didn’t take long before they knew what to say and how to answer the hundreds of questions we were asked.

It’s a beautiful area. We were able to take in a great cruise on the Branson Belle riverboat. Taking in the Fall colors on Tablerock Lake was one of the highlights of our stay. What a trip, what a show. We spent Autumn in the Ozark hills, we sold a van full of clocks, talked to thousands of customers… and we’re glad to be home. We will see how our schedule and 2019 go but we have already applied to do it all again!

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The long awaited Silver Dollar City show is on!

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It was last April when we attended a new “ makers show” in Kansas City and a man came into our booth and introduced himself as the VP in charge of entertainment for Silver Dollar City. He explained that he travels the country looking for unique artisan creations.  He stated there had never been any product like our clocks at the city and that he would love to have us be vendors. What began as a commitment to the market the last couple of weeks in October turned into additional days in September. We are now at the festival a total of twenty days.

C9577FD5-69F0-4B75-BA53-2415CB7453D9So with an expected average attendance of a quarter of a million visitors during the show, it equates to 8,000 customers per day! Yikes! So with those numbers how many clocks do we need to have available? Frankly, we have no idea. These clocks of ours are of course hand-made and one of a kind. We just don’t snap our fingers and poof! We just randomly came up with a number of clocks needed more based on what we could finish by showtime more than by what we need. And that number is 50. We had fifty clocks at our time of departure. Maybe it will last a weekend or the entire show, we just don’t know. What we are sure of is we have a good product. The clocks are always well received at all the shows. This is the first time they will step out in southern Missouri and  based on what we’ve heard since we set up our booth, they are getting the love. We have three days of selling before the city is closed for a scheduled two days so we get to dip our toes in the water and re-evaluate.

37816E9C-4F58-4A49-BA80-68A1B472328DAE428252-EE32-4620-9619-2F1AA24B50D2An estimated eleven hundred pounds of clocks and needed booth paraphernalia started rolling down the highway towards Branson yesterday afternoon. With a predicted heavy rainfall on its way from Hurricane Gordon we wanted to arrive and get loaded in as much as possible yesterday in case weather turned bad. Being allowed to drive right into the streets of sIlver Dollar City and up to the booth helped so much! I remember coming here when I was a boy in the sixties. At that time there were only a handful of buildings, a swinging bridge, a mine and the cave. The area was all dirt roads then and now I navigated between craftsmen booths, food buildings, concert areas and roller coasters. Pretty surreal!

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Today was fine tuning the set-up, pricing and unwrapping the clocks. We then had to go to the costume shop. All participants need to be in costume expressing the 1880’s theme which includes Prairie dresses, hats, vests, and non-designer everything. The city has a large costume shop staffed with seamstresses ready to design and make a multitude of era based outfits. We can bring our own, supplement our own or get it all there. What we are sure of is with this weather, all the outfits will be hot and uncomfortable. No choice there!

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Clocks, check.   Booth, check.   Costumes, check.

Tomorrow morning at 8am it’s showtime! Stay tuned for updates and more stories. Our schedule at the city is September 7-16th and then October 7-7th.

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Memorial Day at the Kentucky Horse Park

255779E3-7161-45E5-A442-EF27BB9715C9Lexington, KY, home of the nationally famous Kentucky Horse Park is our home for these three days. Vintage Market Days descends upon the beautiful sprawling meadows filled with the most famous race horses and equestrian riders known in this country. Vintage and Kentucky just seem to share the same DNA. The history and beauty of this place is unequalled.

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This is our second show at this venue and many remember us from the Fall. It’s good to be welcomed back!

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Lots and lots of cool vintage finds here to see and take home. Saturday 10-5 pm and Sunday from 10-4pm. See you here!

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Our clocks will be spending time at Silver Dollar City this October!

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You never know who you’ll meet at a vintage market. Such was the case at a recent show in Kansas City. A couple walked into our booth introducing themselves as the directors of entertainment at Silver Dollar City. They said there were only a few spots left for the annual artisans fair in October and they would really like us to bring our clocks and join them. We applied for the last two weeks in October. Yesterday I received this message:

You’re in, you can plan on it. We loved your clocks and are thrilled to have them in the festival this fall.  Welcome aboard!

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This annual six week show sees 240,000 visitors come through the doors. It’s a new opportunity to display, demonstrate and sell our newest and best designs. It will take planning and preparation but it’s quite an invitation. We will be supplied our own small cabin to hang the clocks and demonstrate our process. Our attendance at the festival will be during the last two weeks of October. The colors will be alive in the trees, wood fire smoke will be drifting in the hills and bluegrass music will echo in the city. What a way to finish our fall schedule before kicking off the holidays. If you haven’t toured Silver dollar City in October you haven’t been to the city. Sounds like a perfect place for vintage style rustic farm clocks!

For more information regarding the festival:

https://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/Festivals/National-Harvest-Festival

 

 

 

 

Our clocks will be spending time at Silver Dollar City this October!

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You never know who you’ll meet at a vintage market. Such was the case at a recent show in Kansas City. A couple walked into our booth introducing themselves as the directors of entertainment at Silver Dollar City. They said there were only a few spots left for the annual artisans fair in October and they would really like us to bring our clocks and join them. We applied for the last two weeks in October. Yesterday I received this message:

You’re in, you can plan on it. We loved your clocks and are thrilled to have them in the festival this fall.  Welcome aboard!

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This annual six week show sees 240,000 visitors come through the doors. It’s a new opportunity to display, demonstrate and sell our newest and best designs. It will take planning and preparation but it’s quite an invitation. We will be supplied our own small cabin to hang the clocks and demonstrate our process. Our attendance at the festival will be during the last two weeks of October. The colors will be alive in the trees, wood fire smoke will be drifting in the hills and bluegrass music will echo in the city. What a way to finish our fall schedule before kicking off the holidays. If you haven’t toured Silver dollar City in October you haven’t been to the city. Sounds like a perfect place for vintage style rustic farm clocks!

For more information regarding the festival:

https://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/Festivals/National-Harvest-Festival

 

 

 

 

Kansas City here we come!

CD3A23EF-1C70-4026-87A3-D59A49DD7DFFWe’re proud of what we do. We’re proud of what we make and we are very proud of where we make it…Missouri! April 28th and 29th we will show our pride by participating in the very first Best of Missouri Life Market Fair. This highly anticipated event takes place at the beautiful Powell Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri. @powellgardens You may be familiar with the always popular “Best of Missouri Market” at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens every Autumn. This is KC’s answer to beautiful creativity on the other side of the state.

 

This is a Makers Market not a Vintage market. There is a difference. At this show only products, goods and talents made in Missouri are showcased. The vendor list is wide and varied. On the list are painters, wood artisans, farmers, wineries, distilleries, jewelry artists and of course one very good clock maker! It is a select group that was invited to attend and we are proud to accept. One weekend in the Spring at the Botanical Garden handmade arts are in full bloom.

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We have been interested in displaying and selling our custom farm, industrial and primitive clocks at just this type of venue. It will be a pleasure mingling with resident Missourians that put their heart and soul into their creations. This is one show where there will be no imported goods or mass produced replicas! Our clocks are appreciated and sell very well at all markets. This will be the first time our clocks have had this type of audience in Kansas City.

Take a look at the current vendor list at https://www.missourilife.com/best-of-missouri-life. You also will be proud to see, talk and shop from a great collection of vendors, neighbors and makers goods.

New time, New season!

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Not only did we set our clocks forward this weekend, we set our sights on the 2018 Vintage season. As we drove home from the first pop-up show of the year our thoughts of one less hour of sleep was ahead. But more importantly a year of more and larger vintage shows are ahead. As noted before our show schedule is determined far in advance. We know now where we will be showing even into December. At this point we will be on the road every other weekend for the next few months. That means creation and acquiring cool vintage goods to display at these shows is goal one. We have customers looking for us and to us for progressive designs and quality Vintage items. We sell true vintage and custom designs so a repetitive booth at a repetitive show is important. Customers remember what you had and where you were last year and they look for us.

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The 2018 show season began in Springfield, Illinois at the state fair grounds, a beautiful and historical venue in the heart of the state capital. Cold weather and clear sky’s followed us to Illinois. After a month of constant moving into our new warehouse, admittedly, it was a little difficult getting into the swing of things. We decided to travel a day in advance to help with the transition. It was surprising how we had to remind ourselves how we had done things. It seemed we were having amnesia and deja vu  at the same time. Eventually it all came together and the show went on. Thousands came through the door and to our booth. Clearly winter broke and people were anxious to get out and about.

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Just one city and just one show but the beginning of a new season. So we set the clock forward only an hour but it means it’s getting late and time to get going.