As Leah Faulkner, show producer and manager for The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market, starts thinking about her third show Nov. 12–13 at Tradex, she just smiles about the stresses she and her husband Tom no longer encounter.
“Tradex is a stress reliever. It’s a whole package. They take care of the event security, parking, promoting, overall cleanup and take-down. I’ve done seven markets since 2012, and comparing our old rustic venue at the Maple Ridge Albion Fairgrounds with Tradex is a difference like night and day,” said Faulkner.
“While half the vendors used to be in barns and outside in the grass, and the facility fit what we were doing in a rustic sense, the weather was not always cooperative. My husband and I used to have to clean washrooms and manage the parking, too,” Faulkner said.
“Now the show-goers get to enjoy dry shopping and the time-worn pieces are protected from the elements.”
The show moved to Tradex initially because it grew too big and had too many shoppers and vendors. The first Tradex show was in November, 2015, second was in June this year, and what’s on tap this month is her third one. Even though Faulkner is a relative newcomer to the 120,000 square foot facility, she is happy to share her experiences for Tradex’s 25th anniversary.
Faulkner’s mother-in-law from the Prairies has an especially keen eye for farmhouse-style collectibles and taught her how to finish some of her great junking and garage-sale finds.
“When Tom and I were first married, we couldn’t afford the stuff in the big stores so we went to garage sales to acquire things cheaply. Eventually every room was finished and we got to the stage where we would love to find something new and different, but we would trade-out what we already had,” Faulkner said.
“Once we came home with a trailer full of furniture after looking for treasures and we consulted with others through Craigslist to put on a market. We had 35 vendors for the first show.”
The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market places value on things that are well-loved and that are sometimes rusted, dented, and roughed up. Vendor names are cute, like Knotty Paintbrush, Glitter and Spice, Just A Tinker and Cottage Kisses. Some 125 vendors are participating in the next Tradex show.
“It’s a dream being at Tradex,” said Faulkner. “We attract an audience of 6,000 people over the weekend. We don’t have stages, but we have vendors who sell paint and give tutorials on how to finish their projects.” Finished projects are also available.
Faulkner does not consider herself a hoarder—far from it. But there are certain items with which she just cannot part; her grandmother’s old quilt she used to wrap around herself when she was young is one of them.
A special find in her home is a pie cupboard. “I love the colour of the wood. It is rustic. It is sentimental and makes my imagination work. What little old lady cooled her special pies in this piece of furniture?”
For Faulkner, the show at Tradex also offers a message for the next generation. “We love to teach our kids we shouldn’t be a throw-away society,” she said.
And because of that, she believes her show at Tradex contributes to making the world a better place.