By now the word is out and many are concerned about the end of the annual Madison Bouckville Outdoor Antique Show. Owner Jock Hengst decided to sell his property after putting on one of the biggest events in Central New York for 39 years. Jock deserves this well-earned retirement; he has been a true champion of tourism in this county. While this marks the end of a well known event and summertime tradition, it by no means ending the annual festival of antiques, which we like to call Antique Week.
On Aug. 14, 2011 dealers will once again begin to set up shop in the fields and in front of the shops along US Route 20. Yes, there will be changes and yes, change can be a scary proposition. Sometimes change can be good.
Every year I speak with visitors to the show who say they never made it on to the "big" field. They spent the entire time shopping at fields like Quaker Acres, East Expo, Butternut Hill, the Cherry Valley Antique Barn and at Bono's field. These fields all will be back in 2011.
It is incumbent upon us who live here, and work at promoting the area, to make sure the visitors who come here in 2011 have the best possible show experience. It is also important to make sure that we get out in front and promote this experience. For many years the dealers and promoters rode the coattails of Jock Hengst and the advertising he did for his show. We must now get out and promote the show ourselves, both traditionally and by other means. The impact this show has on the community cannot be underestimated; the show must go on.
Over the next couple of weeks we plan to take the lead in rallying the local antique community and coordinating a marketing effort. We hope they rally behind us and we are looking forward to a strong 2011 antique week.
Jim Walter is the executive director of Madison County Tourism.