‘Downton Abbey’ tea parties part of this year’s antiques show

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 2, 2019

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — As the 66th edition of the Salisbury Antiques Show approaches, you know to expect certain things.

For three days — Nov. 8-10 — local and regional dealers bring the finest in furniture, linens, laces, estate jewelry, china, paintings, silver, porcelain, crystal, pottery, unique collections and vintage books and prints.

Held at the West End Plaza Event Center, the Rowan Museum’s show also has built a great reputation for its food — the chicken salad, vegetable beef soup, ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches and homemade desserts.

But this year adds a new twist to the antiques show, at least for Nov. 9 and Nov. 10, when “Downton Abbey”-themed tea parties will be offered.

For a special ticket price those days, patrons are being invited to wear their best “Downton Abbey”-type clothing, stay for a tea reception and even take a Christmas card photo in front of a Highchere Castle background.

There also will be some “Downton Abbey” trivia being tossed about liberally.

Kim Edds, chairwoman of this year’s show, says the “Downton Abbey” clothing is optional, of course.

“It’s not mandatory, but it’s fun,” she says.

Regular admission to the antiques show is $7.

The tea parties, which include tuxedoed servers and elegant menus, cost $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger. The deadline for reserving tea party tickets (which also include the antiques show itself) is Monday. Call 704-633-5946.

The tea parties will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Saturday menu includes Lady Grey tea; sparkling apple juice; scones with jam and maple butter; pumpkin muffins with apple butter; Virginia ham on “biskettes” with cranberry honey mustard spread; orange-tarragon chicken salad tea sandwiches; hard and soft cheese spreads with crisps and baguettes; coconut macaroons; lemon-basil tea cookies; and banana bread fingers.

The buffet tea reception Sunday has different fare featuring Darjeeling tea; cranberry spritzers; tomato-basil sippers; wild mushroom and roasted pepper puff pastry tarts; mini-Monte Carlo tea sandwiches; classic pimento cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches; orange-pecan sponge cake with citrus glaze; mini chocolate custard tarts; and tea cookies.

“We’re transforming a corner of the event center,” Edds says of where the tea parties will take place.

Edds, who has watched every episode of the “Downton Abbey” television series and seen the current “Downton Abbey” movie, says her aim is to attract people with a fun time that then also allows them to enjoy the antiques show.

“Trying to get the younger folks to come in, that was probably my goal,” Edds says.

The table settings will include china and glass but probably be more like a garden party than formal dining, Edds says. Tables for as many as eight people will be available.

The Salisbury Antiques Show is the longest, continually operating show in the state, birthed as a fundraiser for Rowan Museum Inc. during the Rowan County Bicentennial celebration in 1953.

Today, Rowan Museum Inc. provides programming and maintenance for five properties, builds exhibits, leads tours, staffs history camps, sponsors on-site education programs for students, hosts history celebrations and looks after an extensive collection of local artifacts.

The annual antiques show remains the largest and most important fundraiser for Rowan Museum.

“The vendors are so knowledgeable and the pieces are so interesting,” Edds says. “It’s like history come to life. … At this type of show, you can find unique pieces to add to your home.”

Also on site during the show will be an appraiser and experts who repair crystal and oil paintings.

More than 40 items will be available in a silent auction.

The first antiques show was held at the old armory at City Park. It moved from the armory to Salisbury Civic Center and most recently to the county-owned West End Plaza, the former Salisbury Mall at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd.

The antiques show patrons party for invited guests will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at the event center.

Hours for the antiques show are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. -4 p.m. Nov. 10.

For more information on the show, call 704-633-5946 or go to www.rowanmuseumantiquesshow.com.