My wife and I spent a fun filled two days of antique shopping in Nashville at the three shows that take place during antique week in Nashville. The week is anchored by the 31st anniversary of the Heart of Country Antique Show. Then there is the quirky Fiddler’s Antique Show which takes place at Fiddler’s Inn which is right across from the entrance to Opryland, the home of Heart of Country. The third show is the Tailgate-Music Valley Antique Show, the largest of the three shows.
Fiddler’s Antique Show at Antique Week in Nashville
We started with the Fiddler’s Antique Show since it was the first to open. We arrived Thursday morning, although the show actually opened Wednesday with early buying. All three of the shows have early buying with a higher priced ticket. The Fiddler’s show is kind of unique. The bottom floor of the motel is transformed into booths or tiny showrooms for the dealers to display their things. They also may use the parking spaces in front of the room. But one rule of the show is the dealers are not allowed to take any of the furniture out of the room, so they get creative in how to transform a motel room into an antique showroom.
If you are looking for bargains, this is the best show to find them. I saw some dealers from the other shows shopping here. You will find all sorts of things at this show, from very expensive to some really inexpensive things. On the inexpensive side, we saw a stack of small cigar drying trays priced at $5 each. The dealer brought 500 of them and had less than 100 of them left. I saw a neat little bamboo sewing basket for $35. But don’t get me wrong there were some rally nice things here also. Being a Texas native, a fabulous Longhorn weather vane caught my eye. One dealer had a great collection of mechanical banks. There was some quality paintings, both folk art and classical, and some wonderful early American antiques. The nicest was a $25,000 Tennessee cupboard in original condition.
This show didn’t have as much high end stuff as the other two shows, but it was still fun to shop here. Even though this was the first week in February, the weather was wonderful, which was very helpful, since much of the things were displayed outside. I even got a little red and hot just wearing a long sleeve shirt. Although we were worn out from shopping, there is so much to do in Nashville in the evenings, it is the home of country music.
Heart of Country at Antique Week in Nashville
Friday morning we went to the Heart of Country Antiques Show, a nationally known show, known for its outstanding country antiques and Americana. As I mentioned it is held in the fabulous Gaylord Opryland Hotel, an experience in itself. The show offers free parking and a shuttle to the hotel. If you have not been to this hotel, it would be a great place to stay and explore. I attended a conference here and it is a fabulous place. But back to the show. This is a high end show, so you will not find a cheap chest of drawers for the kid’s room here. It is full of outstanding weather vanes and hooked rugs. We counted over forty of both of these. The nicer weather vanes were priced from $15000-$35000. I must say there were lots of customers and they were spending money, which is always a good sign for a show.
Being a Dallas native where English and French antiques reign supreme, attending these shows is a real education for us. Here you get a chance to see some of the finest American antiques, some almost museum quality. The same for the art and smalls. We saw a surprising amount of carnival items, especially wheels of fortune. Since many of the dealers were from the northeast, we saw some great nautical items. Most of the half ship models had sold tags on them. Other popular items with the shoppers were the chimney cupboards. These are tall narrow cupboards which can fit in small areas because they are so narrow. Many of them were also sold. This show is worth a trip to Nashville if you want to see top quality American antiques.
Tailgate-Music Valley Antique Show at Antique Week in Nashville
After lunch, we headed over to the Tailgate-Music Valley Antique Show. This show is larger than the other two shows combined. This is their first show in their new home, the Hendersonville Expo Center, after years at the fairgrounds. I liked the new location much better. Most of the dealers liked the setup, because they could drive right up to their booth and unload. The walls and coverings were done for them as part of their rent, which one dealer told me was $950 for a 10’ by 20’ booth. It seemed easier to get around and find a booth here. There was more variety here, with European antiques as well as the American antiques that were predominant at Heart of Country. This show is not as high end, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some great things. There was a huge booth at one end of the building that was predominantly industrial antiques, which were nearly non existent at the other shows. In fairness, many industrial antiques are not true antiques (100 years old). I like the big round table where the base was made from an old barber chair so you could raise the height to accommodate bar stools or normal dining chairs. Many industrial antiques are repurposed from other things. The TV show, “Picker Sisters” showed how the girls created some of these from other things.
Here is a video that shows some highlights of the show.
There was a place to eat here, so you didn’t have to leave to eat or just pause for a rest and have something to drink. But be sure and leave before the show closes at 5:00 each day or be prepared to get caught in traffic. I also don’t know how load out was going to work for the dealers. Set up was allowed over a three day period, but everyone will be wanting to pack and leave in a short amount of time.
It was a good show to end two days of shop till you drop antiques shopping. Each year these shows happen around the first week in February. If you can fit it into your schedule, it will be a fun few days of antique shopping. The added bonus is being able to experience all that Nashville has to offer. If you enjoyed this article, please consider clicking on the “Like” button and sharing with your friends. Also feel free to leave a comment below. And finally, plan a trip to Antique Week in Nashville.