Sunday, the Last Day of All Horses All the Time

I can’t believe how quick the time goes.  It seems just yesterday I was planning, making reservations and anticipating all the fun of Breyerfest.  Tonight, well this morning now, it is all now in the past.

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Since my room at the Clarion got destroyed, we are staying in Paris this year.  I made it a point to take a different road each time we went somewhere to explore new places.  This time I found a new (to me) road to the Kentucky Horse Park.  This road comes from Lexington to the Horse Park from the south.  It was tiny and we hadn’t ever been on it  before.  After 25 years we are still finding new places and sights!IMG_4268

Something else new I learned this year is that the amazing artist Gladys Brown Edwards designed this fiberglass horse!  I knew I liked it but never knew its background.  She did lots of work for Dodge Trophy Company and other metal sculptures, as well as flat art and writing.  She specialized in Arabian horses, and her art is highly sought after.  Now I just might have to seriously look for one of these for my yard!IMG_4293

There are lots of real horses at the Horse Park (amazing, I know) and since this year was a good one weather-wise we did more touring of the park than usual.  I didn’t use words like oppressive, sultry, or bloody-disgusting so much as tepid, moderate, and relatively-decent.  In the shade with a breeze you actually could breathe without feeling too stifled, and in the sun it took more than a second or two before  you were ready to give up.  This fine fellow greeted guests along the path into the park.  He was kind enough to hang out by the gate to get pets from enthusiastic horse-lovers.IMG_4303

After leaving the park we had our first decent meal since arriving in Lexington, then did some light antiquing.  We had a trunk full already, but you never know what you will find.  Well, this time I found this uncomfortable tableaux.  The tag said they moved when you plugged them in, but since I didn’t want to find out if I was a character in a horror movie, I declined the opportunity.  We then went back to the CHIN to pack our purchases into boxes for our amazing, kind. wonderful, lovely friend to trailer back home for us.  Even though there were no fabulous finds we still managed to fill 4 huge boxes, plus another 4 items that were too big for boxes.IMG_4321

Finally, after days of horses, horse-tradin’, horse tales and horse tails we came to the end of the trail.  This is the saddest sight of the event – empty, clean hallways.  Days of fun, laughter, hi-jinks and dishing dirt done until 2018 – Off to the Races – July 13-15.  Hope to see you there!

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Three Guesses What We Did Today

We saw MORE horses!  Shocking, I know.  Saturday comes too quickly, it seems to be the most fun day as there is so much fun underway yet with an edge as we are almost done for the weekend!IMG_4147

Today I had two tent tickets, and both were drawn with low enough numbers to get my pick of the horses.  Two Indu’s and two surprise models, please.  So far since Breyer has been doing the matte/glossy split I have only drawn matte models, and my streak continued this year.  Matte pintaloosa and chestnut pinto for me.  We don’t know the final numbers yet, but there sure seemed to be a lot of matte bay pintos for sale and trade in the hotel tonight.IMG_4157

The weather was beautiful this year.  If you were in the shade it was amazing, and there wasn’t enough humidity to really kill you in the sun.  We only had to get one large lemonade and one shave ice to get through the day.  Nevertheless we went to the wonderful air conditioned visitors center to see the diorama entries.  There were so many creative entries, this was one of my favorites.IMG_4223

Sorry for the poor picture, my camera does not like the indoor arena, but I HAD to share this wonderful Haflinger drill team!  They were a great 8 member team, with the added twist of this set of 4 jumps in a + sign in the middle of the arena.  They did amazing feats of horsemanship with criss-crossing jumping in their riding pattern.  I don’t know if they invented it or this is a new trend, but I was totally impressed!IMG_4229

After the raffle there is a massive wave of people leaving the horse park for more shopping at the Clarion!  There is also a fun show over at the Alltech arena, but we chose to skip it and shop instead.IMG_4241

I didn’t get any great shopping pictures this year, so this sign will have to suffice.  I was impressed with the fun flyers this year.  There were quite a few with a sense of humor that broke up the mass of for sale and wanted posters.  I was quite happy to make more money than I spent tonight, which is always nice.  We shopped the 200s, 500s and 600s, tonight so we still managed to miss shopping in the 100s this year!IMG_4251

OK, I will share my favorite purchase of the day.  This is a Five Gaiter nightlight clock that I just fell in love with.  I love the unusual items, and this was right in my wheelhouse.  Only one more day and night for this year, so I am off to bed so I can start tomorrow with enough energy to make it through to the wee hours of Monday morning!

 

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Friday – More Horses – LOTS More Horses

What can I say, there are likely more horses this weekend in Lexington Kentucky than any given state in the US.  The line to get  in the Horse Park stretched all the way around the parking lot by entrance time.  I spent the day in the cool air conditioning, far away from the crowds and lines at the Alltech Arena.IMG_4040

It was Open Show Day!  This was likely my favorite collectors class display.  I love the odd stuff: nightlights, music boxes, howdahs, Kippers, and a bronze.  Major drool time.  There were over 7000 horses at the show, and if Breyer made it, it probably was here.IMG_4054

The performance classes always impress me with their detail and creativity.  Those showers are amazing- I didn’t get a picture but I admired a showers tack trunk most of the day.  Only about 12″x12″ it held about 12 saddles!IMG_4078

Like I said, if Breyer made it – it was likely here.  This has been a major grail of mine for years.  There was one for sale at Breyerfest many years ago.  I offered to trade our car for it but was turned down.  Someday…IMG_4110

What do you do after drooling over show models all day? Why go shopping for more, of course!  Again, can you tell I like the unusual stuff?  Nightlights, lamps and pen sets are my weakness.  Didn’t buy any of these, but I remember the year I came back to our room with THREE lamps!  We flew that year too and luckily the hobby is full of wonderful friends who help you out and we found some to help me get them home.IMG_4125

Finally as I was wandering the halls some posters caught my eye.  Most posters are lists of horses for sale and wanted.  These were different, they captured the hilarity of our hobby microcosm.  There were a series, each funnier than the last, and I spent quite some time looking for them.  This was my favorite.  If you are a hobbiest you will nod and smile; if you aren’t, find one to explain it to you!

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Thursday – the First Big Day

Wow, I can’t believe it is only day one of official Breyerfest activities!  It is after midnight already, I have to be up at 6 AM to get ready for the open show and I haven’t done more than a smidgeon of shopping.  Time flies when you are having hobby happyness!IMG_3910

This is a pretty typical Kentucky sight.  We are staying in Paris this year to save money so we get lots of pretty sights on our way to and from the Clarion and KHP.  Miles of fences, horses, bluegrass and pretty views.  IMG_3920

We had to start the day, of course, at a Peddlers Mall.  I was overall impressed with the mall, it seemed most vendors have stepped up their game.  Most booths were similar to this one; nice merchandise nicely presented.  There weren’t any crazy-weird booths that looked like someone just dropped in a dumpster of stuff and the all-new booths were pretty minimal.  We only bought a few things, but one was a pretty big wire planter shelf unit which will be fun to get home. IMG_3925

This was literally the only shopping I have done at Breyerfest in 2 days!  I kept finding more and more stuff jumping in my basket and ended up leaving with the max limit of HR and Breyers.  Every time I looked there was new stuff popping up!  I hear tell there are more unopened boxes in the other room, so I will have to find time to stop by again this week.  IMG_3941

Finally on to Breakables – I had the privilege of judging Americanware Collectibility.  There was stiff competition in all the rings, I think each and every ribbon was hard-won.  I am not sure how many performance showers there were but I can tell you now I have never seen so many clinky horses in the performance division – those showers are a special kind of awesome.  I had a hard time picking my favorite horse, but this guy is way up there.  Thought to be the ‘inspiration’ for the Grand Wood drafter he just has attitude and adoreableness oozing out every inch.  Tomorrow is now today, so get some sleep and I will post again soon!

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On the Road Again

I seem to use that title a lot!  Today was shopping from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to Lexington, Kentucky.  The heat and humidity has returned with a vengeance  so air conditioning and cold drinks were at a premium.IMG_3871

Now this is my kind of antique store!  Random animal statues, hunks of glass and rocks for sale and a 3 story, air conditioned antique store!   Travelling and shopping so much we see a lot of dealers ideas on what is popular and how to sell stuff.  One recent trend I question is the fad of just sticking a cool Edison-style bulb on some random antique piece and upcharging the heck out of it.  I saw a completely pedestrian jewelry box with the largest bulb I have ever seen stuck to it for a premium price.  In any event I left this place happy with a trunk full of rocks.

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These guys were my favorite pieces of the day.  Beautiful condition, huge and in working order they would make a great addition to any home decor!  We didn’t buy much here, and I ponder the future of antiquing trends as there were so many reproduction pieces scattered around.  This is one reason I shop often in new discount stores, reproductions tend to show up there first so I can recognize things when I see them in an antique booth. IMG_3883

One of our favorite parts of antiquing is visiting with the shop mascots.  I didn’t disturb this one, he looked way too comfortable.  I always wonder about the impression we leave and what the shopkeepers think of us.  Here we bought a square yardstick, 70s enamelware teapot and a red hat.  We had a nice conversation and always tell the clerk we are dealers as you don’t pay tax if you plan to resell, but sometimes our purchases just seem more random than others.IMG_3884

I admire this dealer, they really went all out to give a cohesive look in their booth.  Barware is very popular and this display shows you how good it can look in your home on display!  I liked almost all the stores in Knoxville; they had great variety, good quality and some good prices.  There was one disappointment, it was billed as the largest antique store in Knoxville, but was mostly filled with new furniture.  That is the fun and luck of antiquing, you never know what you are going to find behind the shop door.IMG_3906

Finally!  We made it to the heart of Breyerfest, affectionately known to old-timers as the CHIN.  The halls were only part full of people and only about half the rooms were open, but the spirit was there.  I planned on shopping a bit but only made it to about 5 rooms before seeing so many friends and chatting so much that it was time to go already!  I love shopping (and selling) but seeing old friends and making new ones is the best part of the hobby.  Tomorrow will be a long day, so I will sign off for the night and have more stories tomorrow.

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Dollywood!

Today was the day of fun – Dollywood all day!  Weather was supposed to be nice and after the half day yesterday I only had a few coasters left to ride.  We chose to relax in the morning, just shop and mosey about the bottom of the mountain.  IMG_3760

In our meanderings I was able to check a box for my nerd-cred, watching the singers at the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.  Lets just say they wont give Garner Holt a run for his money anytime soon.  The museums was interesting, but I would have liked more music playing as you wandered around.

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Next was on to the Chasing Rainbows museum.  This was a neat museum full of Dolly’s costumes and publicity from over the years.  Another area I wanted more music playing.  There also was very little explanation of anything on display or her career.  My favorite part was the tribute room for Porter Wagoner with a video and one of his wonderful suits.  You don’t really notice it when looking at her gowns, but when I saw this pant suit it was clear she was quite small for having such a wonderful big voice!

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We watched several shows, including the Gazillion Bubbles show.  It was my first time at one of these and really had no expectation of what was to come.  I was quite impressed at the showmanship, I mean it isn’t an easy feat to entertain hundreds of people by just blowing bubbles!  He did a great job with huge bubbles over people, intricate bubbles within bubbles and, of course, a gazillion bubbles!  IMG_3810

This was a very fun,  fairly rare ride called Sky Rider.  You are lifted 70 feet up in the air and circle around in your ride vehicles, but the neat part is you have control of your flight path.  You can swing in and out by changing the wing setting.  I don’t see this ride very often, the last time was at Holiday Land.  IMG_3854

Enough stalling – on to the coasters.  This was by far my favorite, the Wild Eagle.  Fast, smooth, and taking great advantage of the terrain.  I finished all the coasters in the park, and overall rated them above average.  The wooden coaster Lightning Rod was amazing, I think it is one of, if not the, fastest in the country.  Oh, and the water rides were quite fun as well.  The Mountain Sidewinder was the most oddball – you have to hike a half mile uphill, get weighed and divided into specific seats on the boogie-board looking ride vehicle, then it is like a bobsled-type ride, but in water.  IMG_3815

At the end of the day we had a wonderful time at Dollywood.  It has a nice, laid-back atmosphere where you don’t feel rushed and the theming is top-notch.  One of my few quibbles is the uneven park layout.  By that I mean all of the air-conditioning, restaurants and shows are all at the base of the hill.  Almost all of the coasters are at the top of the hill.  This means when you are hitting one coaster after the other, after a pretty intense hike uphill, there is no respite area.  There aren’t near enough benches or shade up there.  I wouldn’t hesitate to come back again, there were shows we missed and I just enjoyed wandering around looking through shops, talking to the artists at work and looking for the little details which sometimes, like the tableaux above, I believe were just there to make people smile.  And isn’t that what vacation is all about?

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This is Like No Place I Have Ever Been

Well, what a day.  Today we toured Gatlinburg in the morning and early afternoon then moved on to Dollywood to take advantage of their – buy one day get in the day before – deal.  After just a few days in this tourist mecca I can say for sure that I have not been to such a concentrated dose of unique advertising anywhere else.

IMG_3668First up was the Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers.  Yes my friends, there is such a thing, and I advise if you are anywhere nearby – don’t miss it!  Over 20,000 S&P shakers, and I believe their count may be on the low side.  Five rooms full to the brim of floor to ceiling S&P sets.  We spent over an hour oohing and aahing and pointing out this or the other amazing set.  From Treasure Craft, Arcadia, and McCoy to cut crystal salt cellars and silver inlaid sets, new and old, souvenir sets from all over the world, you name it they had it.  I was giggling towards the end as every time you thought there couldn’t be any more you turned a corner and there was another room!  Highly Recommended!

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While Pigeon Forge tended to be larger than life (giant King Kong climbing the Empire State Building) Gatlinburg distilled down the essence of crazed carnival hawker to a focused eccentricity.  The town is bounded closely by mountains; since they couldn’t spread out as much so they chose to just amp up the level of insanity.  Each attraction had a barker to bring you in, and there were so many tourists walking the strip as soon as one stopped to listen a small crowd grew.  We chose the 7D movie/ride/shooting gallery/attraction and had a very fun time.  You ‘rode’ a sort of a headless, legless horse while watching a movie and shooting skeletons and bandits.  That sentence really didn’t capture the experience, but hopefully the picture above colors it a bit.

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After an amazing lunch at the Mellow Mushroom (our server was from Belarus, when we asked him how he got to Gatlinburg his pause and sigh before the explanation was so expressive) we went on to the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.  We had such fun at the coaster at Goats on the Roof, I read somewhere this one was longer and ‘better’.  Well.  I officially disagree.  The coaster was the only attraction in a corner of the highway with  nothing outside but the ticket booth.  The loading zone was right in the hot sun and you sit for a bit while getting the instructions and earlier riders on their way.  The only audio you hear while climbing is rules and don’ts.  The coaster itself is fine, then you get off, get in your car and drive away.  The experience was enhanced by the plethora of atmosphere at Goats.  You could sit in a rocker for a spell while contemplating the absurdity of riding a coaster past goats on the roof.  The atmosphere was more pleasant, with a covered loading zone, music on the way up and a more convivial scene to return to.

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Enough jawin’ – on to the main event – Dollywood!  I have been to theme parks and coaster parks all over the US and one in the UK (Blackpool – home of the Steeplechase, the most unusual coaster in the world, but that is for another day) and I can say this park knocked me off my game.  It is perfect for its setting, on the side of the mountain.  The rides take advantage of the terrain beautifully.  The people, however, are not so fortunate.  We entered around 4 PM, right in the heat of the day.  We also chose to head left, to the new wooden coaster, which sits about half way up the mountain.  After hiking up to the entrance it was a brief 15 minute wait to ride an amazing coaster.  Then another hike up to the next coaster.  Again, great experience.  Another hike… You get the picture.  When we got to the top of the park we had to take a long rest spell to recover.  We ended up doing 7 rides and were beat by 8 PM.  Each ride not only required a hike to get to the entrance, but then 1-3 flights of stairs to get to the loading area.

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They really do have beautiful themeing, and go out of their way to keep the smallest details in keeping with the mood of the area.  The shops sell items that are made by artisans right there, from pottery to candles to woodcarvings you can watch thing being made – or make them yourself!  As a Disney-aholic I was impressed by the costumes, signs and background music consistency.  The few suggestions I have would be to provide more shade and better descriptions of the ride at the entrance.  I was quite surprised by several rides that sounded far different from the name and sketch provided than reality.  All in all we had a good time and I look forward to doing some shows and smaller area exploring tomorrow!

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