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Tony Talavera, a member of the Antiques and Collectibles Show Promoters’ Association, hopes to take the 100-stand fair to a new venue every weekend up and down the Mississippi and its tributaries, the Ohio, Illinois and Missouri rivers, travelling about 200 miles a week and docking in ports currently used by casino boats.

He first came up with the idea about 18 months ago and is currently looking for investment for the venture which he hopes to have afloat by the summer.

For legal reasons dealers would not be able to travel aboard but would use the week between stops to restock.

Mr Talavera has his eye on a boat called the Vice President, a modern double-barge vessel in the 19th century riverboat style with three floors and 30,000 square feet of space, allowing for about 100 stands measuring about 10sq ft each.

Dealers would be charged about $1500 per port with a minimum commitment of eight ports and a damage deposit of $3000 payable on the signing of contracts.

As well as selling, the fair would offer an appraisal process, Internet sales and a live Internet auction programme.

Mr Talavera is even working on a scheme whereby visitors to the fair would pay $15 admission and would receive a $15 voucher to spend at the casino gaming tables afterwards. The arrival of the boat at each port would be met with a Mardi Gras-style festival.