Jeremy Garner of TwoJays Antiques is one of the traders saddened by the announcement that the April edition of the biannual Peterborough Festival of Antiques at the East of England Showground will be its last.
“Long before I ever thought of becoming a dealer I visited the festival as a collector.
“I was in awe of the range of wonderful, curious and beautiful antiques and always found another fabulous piece to add to my collection”, said Garner.
“Since becoming a dealer in 2019 the festival was the first major fair I stood at and the excitement from buying from so many dealers there and the sales I made spurred me on as a new dealer.”
Last at the venue
The event on Friday and Saturday, April 7-8, is the last at the showground venue. This is because of the bringing forward of a £50m housing and leisure resort development, meaning organiser IACF can no longer use the site.
News about the end of the festival followed the shock revelation that the IACF fairs at Alexandra Palace in London were also closing. However, the Ally Pally event has now happily been resurrected under new management.
Launched in 1999 at the showground by Bob Evans Fairs and handed over to IACF in 2019, the Peterborough festival brought together hundreds of dealers and collectors – a “highlight of the year”, said one dealer this week.
Decoratives dealer Jo Roberts, a regular buyer at IACF fairs, said: “Like many dealers I am sad to see the closure of the festival as it was always one of the go-to places to find a wonderful breadth of items. Its loss will be keenly felt.”
Top-end kitchenalia dealer Michael Wilton did not attend last September’s festival due to his wife’s ill health. He said: “She has sadly passed away but I have rebooked for the Easter fair as she would have wanted me to carry on.”
He added: “It will be an emotional fair as we have a large client base who only attend this festival, especially overseas buyers.’’
General dealer Kev Kingsley also voiced his disappointment, saying “that it was such a good fair to do”. However, looking on the positive side, he hoped it would encourage more visitors to IACF Newark, an hour’s drive away, a view emphasised by Will Thomas, IACF’s managing director.