at the Victorian-Era Belleview Biltmore Hotel
That was then...
The Belleview Biltmore...
a Florida treasure.
The Belleview Biltmore today...
On Sunday, October 30, 2005 the Florida Collectibles & Vintage Memorabilia Show was held at the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Clearwater, Florida. The Gulf Coast’s only show and sale of exclusively vintage Floridiana featured 55 exhibitor booths with everything from roadside attraction kitsch to premier Florida decor, offering visitors a nostalgic trip back in time as they browsed the booths filled with the finest selection of vintage, collectible Floridiana, including: old Florida postcards, books, crate labels and license plates; cypress and coconut and palm frond lamps; furniture made from palm fronds (see link above for info on thie unique craft); paintings from The Florida Highwaymen and tinted photographs from Barnhill and Harris; kitschy roadside attraction souvenirs; old cigar industry paraphernalia and much more…all for sale.
Included in the impressive line-up of Floridiana collectibles and vintage memorabilia exhibitors were some of the leading experts and authors in the field, including: Larry Roberts, author of Florida’s Golden Age of Souvenirs: 1890-1930 and Dr. Alfred Frankel, author of Old Florida Pottery/Potters in Paradise: The Collectors Guide. All authors were available for book signings.
Several other special attractions kept the public's attention. For those interested in the beautiful Florida paintings by the group of artists known as The Florida Highwaymen, there were several lectures during the day on their paintings and the work of other Florida artists, recounting the history of The Highwaymen and giving an introduction to this highly collectible field. Several exhibitors sold from their extensive collections of Florida Highwaymen paintings and other vintage Florida art. Although plans included a special appearance by Mary Ann Carroll, ironically the only female painter in the Highwaymen group of artists, the hurricane that week prevented her attendance. However, we were delighted, as was the public, that Highwaymen artist S.M. Wells participated.
In addition to lectures on The Florida Highwaymen, there were other talks throughout the day relating to old Florida, including “Florida's Golden Age of Souvenirs." Kelly Reynolds – aka Mr. Henry B. Plant – offered his entertaining and educational one-man performance “Henry Plant - Live” (www.keyvic.com).
Two bands provided live entertainment. Bill T. & Friends, a quartet consisting of jazz horms, druums, and keyboard, offered smooth jazz and blues tunes in the morning. Then, helping to set the tropical tone, came the Haole Kats, playing their lush sounds on Hawaiian Steel Guitar, strumming ukulele, and upright bass. It's the swingin' style sounds of hapa-haole, with a little jazz, swing and bossa nova blend. A cash bar was available throughout the show.
The location for the show was the hotel’s impressive 13,000 square foot Tiffany Ballroom, featuring an historic stained glass arched ceiling. Those interested in experiencing a bit of real Florida history and Southern hospitality stayed overnight at the Belleview Biltmore, or took a guided tour of the hotel (dubbed “The White Queen of the Gulf”), the largest continuously occupied wooden structure in the world (built in 1896), and recently listed by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation as one of Florida’s most endangered properties. The National Trust for Historic Preservation also includes it as one of America‘s most endangered historical properties.
Don't miss the upcoming
Florida Collectibles &
Vintage Memorabilia Show
on Sunday, November 12, 2006
at the historic St. Petersburg Coliseum!
Too many booths, too much Floridiana!
This was a show where the attendees were BUYING!
Rattan, tropical furnishings & Florida art helped turn the day into an extravaganza of vintage Floridiana!
Florida souvenirs, with a backdrop of Florida Highwaymen paintings!
Beautiful paintings by The Florida Highwaymen
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