Spring Old Court Days
family sells antiques
for profit and fun at market
Clubs annual event
helps kick off the summer season
Nicky R. Osinski
(May 2009) Spring is here and warm weather
is finally making its way into Indiana. This means longer days, more
time to be outside and preparations begin for upcoming festivals and
Gale Ferris is among the latter. Ferris, a retired school teacher, now
sells a variety of pottery, prints, seasoning and nostalgic items around
the area. He has spent much of April preparing for Madisons annual
Old Court Days, an event organized by the non profit Pilot Club of Madison.
Old Court Days will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 22-24 around
the Jefferson County Courthouse. The festival extends to the city parking
lot on Second and Jefferson streets.
The event is an antique and craft outdoor marker where visitors can
find art, antiques, collectibles, food booths, crafts and more.
Ferris and his wife, Eleanor, have been involved in Old Court Days for
about 40 years and show a genuine enjoyment for what they do.
Thats what I like, Ferris said. Old fashioned
preserving. I feel like Im persevering part of the past.
A large part of his old fashioned collection includes select pottery
from Clay City that he special orders to fit what he knows people are
Each piece of pottery, from the large, dusted blue salad bowl to the
sunflower yellow jars do have their own unique look a look
that Ferris has been ordering for 35 years.
The pottery takes up at least half of the booth. A friend of my
wife, she comes every year and gets a piece for her collection.
One customer of the Ferris is Jefferson County Assessor Margaret
Hoffman, who says she likes to try to buy a piece every year.
I bought pottery and seasoning from Gale. I love his pottery and
have been collecting it. The pieces are very unique and old fashioned
and I like the looks of them.
Old Court Days hits close to home for those who like antiques and especially
foods, another area where the Ferrises specialize.
Gale cultivates different produce for the market and grows a variety
of items from mosses and Lilly of the Valley to pumpkins and gourds.
Linda McDaniel, an old Court Days co-chair coordinator with Dee Gauger,
helps vendors such as the Ferrises set up.
She is part of the Pilot Club, which has been sponsoring the event for
I have been involved with the Old Court Days for 1 1/2 years.
I enjoy doing this and I am interacting with different people; Im
down there probably 12 hours a day.
With the market lasting three days, there are bound to be familiar faces
not only for those visiting but also for the vendors. Gale enjoys the
social part of being a vendor and has also brought his children with
him since they were young. His daughter, Beth, now 37, is involved with
Old Court Days and has her own collection of hand-made items she sells.
Connie, Gales sister, has also been involved with being a vendor
and selling during this three day period and has been doing it for a
number of years like her brother.
Types of homemade items that Gale has made popular are his tranquil
prints of farms, landscape and different kinds of poultry. He says people
that go there like antiquated older utensils and items that can be decorated.
Hoffman said she liked the Ferrises items for baking and has been
buying pieces from Gale for the last 10 years.
I have a pitcher, a pie plate and different bowls. I always get
some sort of item.
The Ferrises have also put together three cookbooks that they sell Sticking
to the old-fashioned theme, they chose recipes reminiscent of the Pony
Express days, such as grilling, barbecue and foods that can be used
for camping. The proceeds from these cookbooks go to different organizations
and charities and are just the thing for someone looking for that unique
For those attending, there will be up to 100 vendors, each with their
own assortment of crafts, antiques and food. This will be the 42nd annual
Old Court Days. Admission is free. The Pilot Club uses the profits to
go toward different organizations and projects, such as the Lide White
Boys and Girls Club, and is expecting a good turnout for the spring.
Vendors get to their booths early. Vendors enjoy socializing with customers
and browsers. It makes you feel good when its your hobby
and people appreciate it, Gale Ferris says. I enjoy people
appreciating what Ive got.
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