Like it used to be | VailDaily.com
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Like it used to be

Cassie Pence
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BEAVER CREEK – Recently I bought a 1965 electric blue Schwinn bicycle. Even with all the flashy new beach cruisers on the market, I opted for a two-wheeled jalopy made of heavy car steel that strains my knees to peddle up even the slightest hills. It’s dented and dull with a horn in the body that no longer works, but there’s something very romantic about riding a bike that, if so inclined, could tell stories of places its tires have tread, lament over past owners or brag about near crashes. And I can’t help but feel like Jackie O when cruising around the neighborhood.The Rocky Mountain Antique Festival in Beaver Creek, which opened Friday and ends Sunday at 6 p.m., hosts a cast of vendors and visitors who share in this affection for past things – whether it’s an attraction to the objects’ treasured stories or their quality craftsmanship, which one would be hard-pressed to find in retail nowadays.Like with my blue Schwinn, Donae Cangelosi Chramosta of Times Past Collection finds entertainment in dreaming about the former lives of vintage handbags she collects and sells. A self-described handbag addict, Chramosta transformed her passion into a business. She sells all the high-fashion brands from Gucci to Prada to the style of Hermes bag once carried by Grace Kelly to hide her pregnant belly in a photograph that ran on the cover of Life Magazine.

“You think about what kind of party the bag’s been to, what lady had been carrying it,” she said Friday in Beaver Creek. “You can only imagine, which is the neat part about it.”One can take an intimate peek into the mindsets of street tramps and military men under Ski Country Antiques’ tent. The dealer boasts collections of Tramp Art and Trench Art.Hobos and tramps would take cigar boxes and decorate them with chip carvings, a technique that consisted of notching and layering wood in an intricate geometric design, to sell and earn money to continue their vagabond lifestyle. The folk art form was known as Tramp Art.”Hobos would use crude tools to make these boxes,” Matt Schiefen of Ski Country Antiques said. “Screwdrivers, bottle openers, pocket knives – anything they could find.”During WWI, soldier-artists would spend their spare time hammering designs into mortar shells for souvenirs, possibly created for a loved one. Schiefen showed off one piece of Trench Art that read Julia Newport, stamped 1917. It could have been the namesake of the soldier’s girlfriend or newborn baby.

Antiques give insight into past ways of life and traditions, too. During the fancy, excessive Victorian period, people would use a “manche a gigot” to clamp onto a lamb leg when carving at the dinner table.”It wasn’t proper to touch the bone when carving,” said Jeff Weller, a dealer with McIntosh-Weller Antiques in Colorado Springs. “It’s something every proper household would have.”Many dealers at the festival started selling antiques because of a large personal collection already acquired. Dealer Belva Herben from New Ulm, Texas, bought her first piece of antique furniture when she moved away from her parent’s home and couldn’t afford anything new.”I didn’t make any money, so I had to buy old things, which were really well made,” Herben said. As opposed to the nostalgic stories, Herben is drawn to the quality wood work in old furniture. “This cabinet is from the 1880s, and it will be here 100 years from now. Anything new you buy today won’t be here in 25 years.”Things just aren’t like they used to be.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938 or cpence@vaildaily.com.

Sunday- Kids’ Fun Zone open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.- Food and beverages available for purchase from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.- Live entertainment with Mac McCain from Noon- 2:30 p.m.- Live entertainment with Chuck & Theano Lamb from 3-5 p.m.- Culinary Demonstration with Steven Topple (Beano’s Cabin) at Noon- Culinary Demonstration with Geordy Ogden (SaddleRidge) at 1:30 p.m.- Culinary Demonstration with Todd Rymer (Colorado Mountain CollegeCulinary School) at 3 p.m.Vail, Colorado


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