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Stall holders from the UK and the continent at the South of England Showground reportedly did brisk business on day one.

A successful opening day and bad weather on day two encouraged some outside stall holders to pack up early, however, to some buyers’ disappointment.

Rachel Everett, IACF operations manager, told ATG that if stall holders do well on the first day and have travelled distances, “it is impossible for us to force them” to last the course.

Discount appeal

Day two lures the general public with a 75% discounted admission price.

For private buyers ATG encountered, such as Linda and Michael Parker from Horsham, that discount “makes a hell of a difference” in deciding to come, they said.

There is also the promise of rich pickings from remaining stalls. Paul Anderton from Hackney arrived mid-morning on day two and joked about his “anxiety” at seeing stall holders packing up, even though he was laden with purchases at the fair’s close.

Day for a deal

Steve Vanner, a house-clearance specialist from the Isle of Wight who buys for his house-moving clients, remarked that day two “is the day to look for a deal”. He had bought a 19th century French armoire “in stunning condition” from Dutch dealer Jos Wolters for €48.

Continental dealers such as Wolters had a strong presence, despite any anxieties of a potential no-deal Brexit. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen with Brexit,” said Danish Horvdah of Hungarian Antiques. “We’re looking at what happens with Sterling’s exchange rate, any tariffs and the time spent at customs.”

At the fair’s close, the stall holders last to pack up were those in the six covered areas around the showground – doing business even when the weather was at its worst.