2012-04-05 / General Stories

Round Top Celebrates 45 Years of The Original Round Top Antiques Fair

Wednesday, April 4th thru Saturday, April 7th
by Cathy Chaloupka, Rural Texas Tourism, LLC

Where has the time gone? It’s been almost 45 years since The Original Round Top Antiques Fair started showing antiques every spring and fall in tiny Round Top, about half-way between Houston and Austin, Texas. Through hurricane-force storms, major fires in Texas, and slowing economies, this show which started the whole Round Top antiques “phenomena” continues to lead the way for antiques collectors, dealers and folks who are looking for terrific antiques to furnish their homes.

The Big Red Barn, long known as the unbeatable venue for the best in stunning early American and historic early Texan, now features many dealers who show European as well as fun, eclectic items — an array of booths to attract even the most scrupulous shopper. Early furniture and home furnishings from Continental Europe, Great Britain, and even Asia are now a major part of the antiques experience at The Original Round Top Antiques Fair, coming up this spring from April 4 through April 7. Reflecting on Susan and Bo Franks’ amazing ability to “read the market”, a few years ago they responded to the increasing popularity of British, European and Asian antiques by adding a special exhibition area.

The Continental Tent is now in its fourth year, and has become known as the bright new spot in Round Top. This spring, the Tent will be filled with dealers from across the U.S. and Europe that include: Robert Martin of Richmond, Virginia who is a dealer with an extensive collection of early furniture including Beidermeier from Austria and Germany, painted pieces, and fine art from Central Europe—Owen Swift, now of Riverhead, New York and native to Ireland, offering fine wood and upholstered pieces from his native land and the U.K.—Craig Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida who will be offering more from the other side of the English Channel—Steven Postans of Sarasota Florida, who will bring the collections he finds in his European shopping expeditions.

Not to be outdone by its youngest “sister”, the Big Red Barn will offer collections of Americana and very early American antiques, including early Texas with: Betty H. Bell of Dallas who collects and trades in early holiday decorative pieces—Bette & Tom Gustavson of Smithville who carry early 19th century American furnishings and Texas pieces—Michael and Claire Higgins of Atlanta, Georgia who will show Imari china and other oriental decorative pieces and art—Grace Homan Antiques of Austin who offers exceptional early period Americana furnishings.

With its four shows in one, The Original Round Top Antiques Fair is a not-to-be-missed event managed by Susan Franks. The Big Red Barn Event Center features the Big Red Barn itself, with Americana, European, and eclectic dealers, the Big Red Barn Tent, which is an overflow from the Big Red Barn, but also reflects the newest trends towards Industrial furnishings and mid-century modern and the Continental Tent, showing off its English and European collections. Carmine Dance Hall, located only a few miles away in the community of Carmine, offers collections of assorted antiques for the home, including early linens, jewelry, fine sterling silver flatware and hollow ware, and country furniture.

The Big Red Barn Event Center, including the Big Red Barn, the Continental Tent, and the Big Red Barn Tent, is located five miles north of Round Top Square. Carmine Dance Hall is 2 blocks North of Hwy. 290, in downtown Carmine. The Spring Antiques Fair is open April 4-7 at all four venues. Hours: Wednesday 9-7, Thursday and Friday 9-6, and Saturday 9 -4. Admission is $10, good all four days and all four venues. Info: 512-237-4747, www.RoundTopTexasAntiques.com, or email at info@RoundTopTexasAntiques.com.

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