For Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair, International is the key word.
Stallholders have long come from countries like Holland, Belgium and France, with buyers and collectors coming from all over the globe.
June's Newark International Fair, organised by iacf, however, had a couple of new stalls from visiting dealers who had travelled a little further than most.
Spiros Theodorou had travelled with his father Kiriakos, his cousin Meneleus, and another cousin Spiros Zepis, for five days in order to stall-out at Newark. The first day was spent loading and driving from their home in Athens to the Greek port of Patras, in order to take the 25 hour ferry to the Italian port of Ancona. They then had to drive through Italy (another day), France (another day), before reaching Calais for the ferry to Dover, and then heading north to Newark. Quite an Odyssey!
For the four Greek stallholders it was their first time at Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair, and apart from 38 year old Meneleus, it was their first time this side of the English Channel.
The four gentlemen are part of a large family business, with six shops in and around Athens, selling antiques, furniture and jewellery. They have often exhibited at fairs on the continent, but such was the fame of Newark, they had long wanted to make the journey and, having now been, are eager to return for the next fair.
"This fair has been a good one for us, the organisers are very friendly. Everyone smiles and that is not always the case back on the continent." said Spiros, himself smiling. "We want to come back in August, so have booked already!"
"We go home first, after here, and are travelling back to France for another fair on the 14th June. There we will be buying and selling."
Kiriakos & Meneleus are regarded as the really knowledgeable ones on the team. They are particularly interested in Art Deco and Art Nouveau furniture and Oriental and Middle Eastern items, but they also include a vast array of art, silver jewellery and other antique items in their stock.
"We have really enjoyed our trip to Britain and love the country and its people, we will definitely be coming back. We might even open a shop!" said Spiros.
Though the Theodorou family must be amongst the stallholders who have travelled the furthest, the long distance prize must surely go to two young Japanese dealers: Yuki Kobayashi & Hiroshi Muranishi, of Tanuki Japanese Antiques.
Yuki and Hiroshi both hail from just outside Tokyo and have shipped over quite a quantity of Japanese furniture, vintage signage, books and other interesting old Japanese items. The name of their business - 'tanuki', refers to a Japanese Raccoon Dog. The animal has long been significant in Japanese culture, since very ancient times. The legendary tanuki of Japanese folklore is reputed to be mischievous and jolly, a master of disguise and shapeshifting, but rather gullible and absentminded. The two smiling, young Japanese dealers certainly seem to fit the idea of jolly, possibly even mischievous, but it's difficult to think of them as gullible or absentminded!
"This is the second year running that we have come to Newark." said Yuki. "We have come over for six weeks and will fit in a number of smaller fairs around the Newark Fair, to make the trip worthwhile."
The dealers arrived on the 20th May and, after a quick flea market nearby, their next port-of-call was Newark, this time for the extremely popular Runway Monday event, which takes place in the car park alongside the Newark & Nottinghamshire showground.
Their itinerary of antiques events is quite extensive, with fairs and markets being held in various locations across the country, over the course of their six week trip.
"We also buy when we come over." explained Yuki. "We have some nice vintage pine furniture with us, which we will ship back to Japan."
It's the International buyers and sellers - like the Theodorou family, and Yuki and Hiroshi from Tanuki Japanese Antiques - which make the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair so unique, and such a joy to attend. You will find items that you wouldn't find in a month of Sundays at most other antiques events, and you will get to talk to some extremely knowledgeable and interesting people. No wonder then, that the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair will once again be included in the next publication of '1000 places to see before you die'.
The next Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair will be held on 17th & 18th August.
The next International Antiques & Collectors Fair is at Ardingly on Tues 18th - Wed 19th July.
For more information go to: www.iacf.co.uk