At the end of 2018, after sponsoring 63 shows Heritage Promotions and the Shenandoah Antiques Expo internally transformed itself from a long-standing partnership with Sam and Mary Ferguson to a true family operation. Ray and Martha’s daughter, Lesley, became officially invested as a full-fledged partner.
Having worked many, maybe even most (depends on who you ask), of the 63 shows, she was a seasoned veteran stepping in comfortably and “hitting the decks running.” Other than Mother Nature tossing in the threat of a thunderstorm on Saturday, the Shenandoah the 64th show last May ran like clockwork. Yet Lesley’s official engagement in the business is only part of the story. Yes, she’s part of the Stokes’ family. But the Shenandoah Antiques Expo has, over the years, evolved into a much larger and devoted family – making for an expansive family affair. Just who makes up this family?
Well, first things first – if you’ve never attended this amazing, long-running show, you have truly missed one the most exciting and diverse antique and collectibles shopping experiences in the mid-Atlantic area, even the entire eastern seaboard. What makes the show so special are the people. Over the period of now 64 events, there have been thousands of dealers that have participated in the shows. And what makes this “family” is that several hundred of the thousand or so vendors participated at some of the shows as far back as the early 90’s – and they return every year in May and October.
They come not only because they know what a great show it is and they always have had success at selling their wares, but they come to be with the Shenandoah Expo family. They talk about shows they’ve done – good and bad; about amazing deals they’ve found; and they share meals and stories and get caught up on the kids and grandkids. And, they refer customers to their fellow dealers – a bit like Miracle on 34th Street. But the family doesn’t stop their. No, the family further expands to include the dedicated, loyal customers. And some customers “cross-over” to being dealers. It happens!
Just like the dealers, there are customers that have been to 10, 20, 30 or more shows over the years. They are loyal not only to the show. They know Ray and Martha, many on a first name basis, and they know the commitment the Stokes’ have in putting on a great show. They come to see the dealers with whom they’ve established a long-running relationship. Some have communicated to their favorite dealers their “in-seek-of” want list in advance, hoping one of their connections might arrive with that special treasure. They come to see new dealers and what they’ve brought to sell. And they come to just enjoy all that the show has to offer – fun, excitement, getting “juiced” in bargaining and hopefully taking home that special piece for their home or as a gift.
And now, with 64 shows “in the books” and preparations underway for the 65th edition of this antiques extravaganza, Heritage Promotions is tapping their archives to reach out to vendors of both past and recent shows to bring the best possible diversity of antiques and collectibles to the Expo. One long-time customer said that, “once you come to one of the shows, you are hooked and you can’t wait for the next one!” One dealer noted that the Shenandoah Antiques Expo has “most any antiques you can think of.” Whether you are looking for 18th- and 19th-century American and English furniture, vintage Americana, mid-century modern, jewelry, silver, rugs, art or just about any type of collectible, he said, “There truly is a treasure just waiting to be found by any and all who attend.” So don’t miss the 65th show. Ray and Martha invite you to “Come join the family!”
The 65th Shenandoah Antiques Expo will be held at the Augusta Expoland, 277 Expo Rd, Fishersville, VA. It will be open Friday and Saturday, Oct 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 per person on Friday (early shopping and two day pass) and $5 per person on Saturday. For more info: http://www.heritagepromotions.net.