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Vintage Market proceeds with summer plans

Scheduled for July 25-26, the Vintage Market in the Mountains is family and pet-friendly. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
May 20, 2020
BETHLEHEM — While several summer events have been canceled in recent weeks due to the novel coronavirus, organizers of the 'Vintage Market in the Mountains' event have opted to continue as scheduled. The weekend-long outdoor event is held at the Wayside Inn on July 25-26 and offers ample room for safe social distancing.

When asked how COVID-19 has affected the vintage market industry, event founder Sean Gawlik said it has been catastrophic.

"I've watched friends and associates go out of business. This was their whole life and the fact that they couldn't jump right out and do shows financially destroyed a lot of these people," he stated.

A seasoned picker and vintage vendor himself, Gawlik has been active in the industry for nearly ten years. He said that multiple shows have gone under and vendors who owned brick and mortar shops have been closing their doors because of the pandemic.

"The upside to it is that it's really forced us to look ahead to the future and how we generate buzz, attract people and bring in a new customer base. But it's still not the same. There's a lot to be said for walking around and talking to the vendors, learning the history of items and making a day of it. It really is a family experience," added Gawlik.

As both Gawlik and Wayside Inn owner Sara Levy prepare for the end of July event on Route 302, they have made logistical adjustments to adhere to safe practice guidelines. They said they've received the approval to proceed with the Vintage Market but still take it day by day like so many others. Should they need to cancel, they have a tentative alternate date set for September.

This event will be one of the first of the season in the New Hampshire vintage market world and Gawlik hopes it will help the vendors regain their footing. Beyond that, he sees it as something for everyone to anticipate.

He explained, "I want to be able to provide an opportunity for people to get out, walk around and have some normalcy again. We all need something to look forward to."

Modified layouts with more space between booths, hand sanitization stations, masks and gloves at the entry gate are but a few of the plan changes for the second annual event. Additionally, set hours will be established for high-risk customers to shop safely.

"It just makes good sense to have that stuff there anyways, especially now more than ever. I want people to feel comfortable coming. I want them to feel like it's going to be safe and they will be able to enjoy it," added the picker.

The vintage market industry is significant enough to be added to the country's Gross National Product. According to the National Flea Market Association, the market boasts over two million vendors conducting more than $30 billion in annual sales.

Like last year's event, the 2020 Vintage Market offers vintage vendors, food trucks, a beer garden and live musical performers. What makes the Bethlehem market unique is the convenience of on-site lodging and dining for both guests and vendors at the Wayside Inn.

The Vintage Market in the Mountains is a rain or shine event scheduled on Saturday, July 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 26. Admission to the pet-friendly, family event is $5 per person and children are free.

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