Dealer Friends Reminisce At Cord Shows’ Retirement Party

Vivien Cord passes on the “garbage baton” to new show managers, her longtime dealers Rich Vazzana and Beth Steele. —photos by Barrie Bonacci, North Salem, N.Y.

KATONAH, N.Y. — Dealer friends, both past and present exhibitors, gathered at the Lasdon Park and Arboretum September 1 to toast Vivien Cord and Ed McClure and wish them well as they prepare to celebrate their retirement, of sorts, from the antiques business because as we know, no one fully retires from the biz…

Despite the humid weather and it being setup day for their final antiques show here the following day on Labor Day, Cord and McClure, who have been running shows throughout the Westchester County/Fairfield County area for more than 20 years, and Vivien for years before that, enjoyed the party and the good company.

Among the guests was fellow show promoter Frank Gaglio, who did his first antiques show as a dealer with Vivien at the E.J. Murray Skating Rink in Yonkers, N.Y., and brought his friend Lynn to the party.

“We had around 50 people and we had it catered, which gave us time to relax. Normally I would have cooked! It served the exact purpose we wanted it to; it gave us a chance to give back to some of our most loyal dealers,” Vivien reported to Antiques And The Arts Weekly after the event.

Vivien and Ed said they regretted not circulating more among their guests, but like the dealers who were busy all day getting ready for the show, they said it felt good to sit in one place!

It was a busy weekend for antiques shows and some of their regular dealers could not attend as they were on their way to Brimfield or breaking down from Harwinton or Stormville shows. “It felt like the end of an era and a little sad,” Vivien said.

A trip down memory lane was sparked by a collage display Vivien put together of shows she has run over the years, starting in 1970. “There were shows in Maryland, Pennsylvania, all over New York, throughout Connecticut and up to Lynn, Mass.; many I had totally forgotten.”

Many memories, some funny, some sad, stand out. “Our first show had a mini disaster when a dealer’s son fell into a cesspool! We’ve had bats landing on pegboards during set up in Glens Falls, N.Y., and dealers’ vehicles buried to their axles in mud on the infield of Goshen, N.Y.’s Historic Track,” Vivien recalled.

“We did a show in a very upscale, elegant catering hall on Long Island where there were mice running between customers legs while dealers tried everything to distract them! We’ve shared the Greenwich Civic Center with a Red Cross shelter during a flood that required a front-end loader to rescue people and bring them to the shelter. We’ve also run the vintage clothing show in Danbury, Conn., while 8 inches of rain fell and turned streets to rivers.”

A cute photo op during the party was when Vivien handed over the “garbage baton” to new show managers Rich Vazzana and Beth Steele.

Vivien and Ed’s final antiques show will be the annual Stocking Stuffer show December 15 at John Jay High School in Cross River, N.Y., and the two plan to keep running their Vintage Clothing show in Danbury in April for as long as they can.

Frank Gaglio did his first antiques show wiith Vivien Cord way back when.

Larry Butchen (left) and Ed McClure

From left are Rich Vazzana, Marie Butchen, Frank and Lynn

From left, Roger and Teresa Ridgeway, Bev and Bob Lavallee and standing in back are Fred and Alice Rinehardt.

Many shows, many years — Vivien put this collage together of some of the many shows she has run since the 1970s.

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