Monday, March 12, 2012

New Ulm Trade Show

The annual Trade Fair show is held in New Ulm at the historic Turner Hall; the first one was built in 1856 and rebuilt after it was destroyed during the Dakota Uprising in 1862.  The original part of the hall was rebuilt in 1873 and is still in use, with additions in later years.  The Trade Fair is the first event of the year and people are anxious to get together again and start doing the rendezvous-ing that they love so much.  Vendors sell Rendezvous equipment to other “vous-ers” and also to “outlanders” who come to see the fun.  We are restricted from selling anything that would not have been available in the trade era - nothing no later than 1820.  I trade outfits and go to the earlier era, even though our normal time-period is the mid 1870s.  Norm doesn’t have to change ... what he wears in 1870 is acceptable in 1820 (lucky him).

I used to call this the “Great Minnesota Sleep-Over” but it’s getting so less and less people sleep in the Turner Hall every year.  Unfortunately, the people are getting older so they are opting to go to the motel and sleep in a real bed rather than on a cot or sleeping mat on the floor.  However, Norm, Peanut and I slept over.  We have our 6" bed foam and I can finally get up from the floor with a solid chair for leverage, so we sleep in the bar next to our tables.  Our beautiful Turner Hall Manager, Ginnie, puts curtains up to enclose the bar, so we have a private bedroom. 

We arrived on Friday afternoon and set up our spot, then visited with friends.  Some of them we see only once a year, others we see a couple of times.  Friday is catch-up day before everyone gets busy with customers on Saturday and Sunday.  Friday night there is a traditional potluck with chili.  I don’t care for chili that much, so I load up with salads and breads while Norm gets chili. 

Turner Hall has two floors and we are in the lower level (basement) while the bigger group of vendors are in the upper level.  Among many of the items for sale are: leather, crystals, rabbit skins (mostly for “outlander” children), guns, cast iron pans, candles, soap, moccasins, shirts, dresses, coffee pots, dishes, silverware.  Norm, of course, has his spoons and I have yarn, woven and knitted items and (this year) soap.

On Saturday night, Norm and I have a small potluck for close friends in our area.  This year I made chicken and dumplings, which Ole claimed was a “new favorite” .. So I might have to make it again next year!  It worked out great - I made it on Friday morning, put it in a slow cooker, let it stay in the van overnight (instant freezer) and then warmed it up on Saturday.  That, with home-made bread, beet pickles, fruit salad and cheesecake, filled all of us up to a bursting point.

I have a few pictures, here, of what I see every year.  I hope you enjoy the tour as much as I did.  Come see us next year!

 Behind Norm is the curtain to our private "bedroom."

 This is a dark Tulip Poplar wood being made into a spoon

 Ole and Lynn are upstairs at their booth

 Lynn is needle felting patterns on woolen trivets

 Some of the vendors upstairs

 More vendors and customers

 Ole shopping at my "across the street neighbor"

 Some of the downstairs vendors

 Two friends
 Beth in her regency gown (I kept curtseying to her, since she looked like a queen)

 Lovely Ginnie (Manager) was put into "proper" clothing for the weekend.
Ole escorted her to the vendors for gifts as a thank you for her hard work.

A wood-looking resin spinner that was a gift from a vendor-friend

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