Tuesday, May 27, 2014

North Carolina's Most Unique Antique Festival

Outdoor Festival Serves Up Antiques with a Slice of Americana
By Lynne Brandon


Farm setting adds to downhome vibe

Quilt on display





















Liberty, NC - You can hear the unusual noise before you walk into the Liberty Antique Festival. The unusual "hit and miss" sound is one-of-a-kind. It is the sound of the Hit and Miss 1937 John Deere
Serving up a "Rebel" with a cause
engine that turns the big wooden churn filled with home made ice cream. The machine was used to grind corn at mills once upon a time. Owner, Jonathan Williamson bought it from the previous owner Gilbert Key when he decided to retire.Williamson's mother, Linda, helps scoop and serve the dairy confection, and she confesses that the pre-mixed commercial ice cream base is an old Amish recipe that is a secret. And, it is not cheap.

The recipe is 100 years old and patented so it will remain a mystery. What's not a surprise is the long lines that form twice a year when Williamson and other food and antique dealers come to Liberty for the down home show that is part Antique Pickers and part Mayberry.

The people behind the event are the Pike family. The Pike's own the large field (more than two football field lengths) that becomes the Liberty Antique Festival each April and September, always the last weekend in the month. The Pike's BBQ booth is one of the first seen when walking in. The smell will attract you initially, followed by the excellent service and food served up at Dixieland BBQ. Nan Pike is in charge and she and a band of church ladies serve up pork hams cooked by husband, Don. He starts at 3 a.m. each morning and before the event is over nearly 50 hams are cooked on the massive grill that was originally an oil drum.

"Staley" style cue is served up as a "Rebel" on the menu. It is Nan's invention and comes with sauce, BBQ, mayo-based slaw (mountain cabbage) and beans. No bun. Drink of choice is the house wine of the South - a.k.a as sweet tea. BBQ sauce is homemade by Don's mother and sold in bottles.

After filling up on BBQ, a walk through rows of antique wares is necessary to work off the calories. Booths, tents and spaces are lined in rows. Each space is different from the next and anything can be found if one is willing to poke around a little. Civil war artifacts, farm equipment, antique furniture, collectible glass and books are some of the treasures waiting to be discovered. The laid back atmosphere brings out crowds who enjoy strolling through the grassy rows looking for the perfect settee, old time wall fixture, or out of print book.

Those who walk the entire festival are rewarded along the way with homemade and freshly squeezed lemonade. It goes great with Papa's Old Fashioned Kettle Korn that is sold each year from the large copper pots. The couple making and selling the corn are from Florida and they come every year. You can't miss them - the wife is the red head with the cowboy hat on. No matter how hot it is, she is wearing her hat.

If you get lost, an Aunt Bea voice comes across the PA system to direct you back to your party. The voice says today that Edith is tried of waiting and Bill needs to hurry up and get to the exit. Set in a pasture with cows grazing nearby, the scene is true Americana. You might not always find that perfect piece of furniture but you will create a memory, and eat some of the best food in the South Guaranteed.