The 21-year-old Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top is getting air conditioning, plus other tips to help you prep for the beginning of antiquing season in Central Texas.
Three hundred fifty dealers spread throughout at least nine tents and a smattering of historic buildings across 43 acres in Round Top, Texas, is just another day in October for anyone committed to antique shopping. However, each year offers something new in this something-old industry, and I spoke to Ashley Ferguson, CEO of the Marburger Farm Antique Show, to unearth any new tips and tricks to attending this year’s show, which takes place October 2 – 6. As Central Texans know, spending a day in the Hill Country ain’t so bad. Add vintage sofas, faux elephant tusks, Western textiles, original art, and bits of Americana large and small? It’s nothing short of a great way to kick-off the Fall.
Cowboys & Indians: Is it right that there have been 20 years of the Marburger Farm Antique Show? What are you most looking forward to this year?
Ashley Ferguson: Fall 2018 is the 21st year of Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top! The thing I look forward to every single show is seeing what the dealers bring. They spend six months shopping the globe to bring the best of the best to Marburger Farm. I can’t wait to see what they have found.
C&I: Are there any new bells or whistles that haven’t been part of the show in the past?
Ferguson: We are always innovating. This fall we are introducing our Tuesday Morning Tailgate Breakfast at 8 am featuring complimentary breakfast and drinks, live KTEX radio broadcast, and a sneak peek into dealers’ booths inside some of the historic buildings at the show. The official shopping bell will ring at 10 am! There will also be a Grab-and-Go Lunch Tent for those shoppers that don’t want to stop! Located in front of Tents C and F, shoppers can grab a box lunch and bottle of water and keep going! We are very exciting to host our Whiskey Wednesday event from 3 to 6pm on October 3 to benefit two great charities, Dwell with Dignity and the Brookwood Community. Finally, we are installing a new air ventilation system in our large structure tents. Keeping things cool never hurts in Texas!
If anyone walks into my home and asks where I got something, chances are the answer is Marburger!
C&I: We’re looking for predictions. What home and design trends do you think might emerge at the show this year?
Ferguson: Casual, functional, elegance. Dealers are seeking to offer an easy mix of fine and fun. Our homes reflect the stories of our lives and who we are. The fun is selecting a mix that speaks to you and your family. There will be more antiques/vintage with an organic feel, raw wood, plenty of industrial as well as formal.
C&I: Let’s talk about the dealers. Are there any up-and-coming folks you’re excited to have involved this year?
Ferguson: We are upping the art in the show, all original art and artisan work in many styles. Lindsay Abernathy of A List Lady brings a younger vibe to the original Marburger Farmhouse. She says that her booth will have a huge pair of 1970s faux elephant tusks, mounted to stand upright. Perhaps a first for the farmhouse!
C&I: What about the mainstays? Who are the dealers that never fail to disappoint in their antique offerings year after year?
Ferguson: Susan Wheeler Home of Seattle is bringing clean-lined furniture upholstered in silk velvet. It’s a mix of fine and the not-too-precious. We always count of South Porch from upstate New York to bring early, interesting, and affordable smalls that people can easily place in their homes. Of course they also have enormous barn doors and other large Americana. Mary Lee Snuffer of Bedford on the Square in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is bringing contemporary abstract art to mix with older furniture and accessories.
C&I: The pillars of Western design evoke certain prints and patterns that seem to never go out of style. What element of that aesthetic does Marburger showcase better or more than any other show?
Ferguson: Western art and design migrated into the American West from Northern Africa to Spain and into the Western Hemisphere to Mexico through weaving of textiles and baskets. Marburger is an international show and many things relate to these patterns of Western design…it is all globally related and its influence can be found all over Marburger.
Quality is why you would buy vintage or antique. You can get quality in old things at a much better rate than you can get quality in new things.
C&I: It’s five whole days of being surrounded by antiques and vintage wares in the Texas Hill Country—be honest, have you been guilty of shopping (and walking away with) any especial home goods for yourself?
Ferguson: Absolutely! I always seem to bring at least a little something home. I like pairs of things – pairs of lamps, pairs of garden urns and planters. If anyone walks into my home and asks where I got something, chances are the answer is Marburger!
C&I: Splurge or steal: What décor and home design items here are worth it for folks to spend their hard-earned paycheck on? Conversely, where can people get a lot of bang for their bucks?
Ferguson: Quality is why you would buy vintage or antique. You can get quality in old things at a much better rate than you can get quality in new things. New things of quality are extremely expensive. Good buys are currently in: Vintage sofas and beds and other furniture made of hardwoods will last and last at a very reasonable cost compared to replacing flimsy new production. Wednesday at Marburger is a great day for buying furniture. A lot of the smaller items have been sold and you can really see the furniture.
C&I: We’ve hardly mentioned Round Top—what does this place add to the Marburger show each year?
Ferguson: Round Top is a sweet spot of Texas, beautiful and spirited. Round Top has great food, music, history, Live Oak trees, stars at night, and miles and miles of antiques and fun. What is now “Antiques Month” – about 3 weeks – brings together a community from the across the nation, people who want to fill their homes with the comfort and character of antiques and art. Marburger is part of that community in this unique place of Round Top.
C&I: Last question. What’s been your favorite memory at this show over the years?
Ferguson: I’m a classic: I love the tradition of ringing the 10 am bell on Tuesday and the shoppers running into the tents and buildings. Of course shoppers arriving by horseback and helicopter is also fun.
PHOTOGRAPHY: (All images) Turner Photography/Courtesy Marburger Farm Antique Show. CAPTIONS: (Cover image) Marsha Smith, Cotton Seed Trading Company; (Boots image) George Vogt, ANTLERS-X LLC.