Dan Leyland, fair director at MaD Events, said the venue – Hall 12 at the NEC – had room to house a wider range of exhibitors.
“We’ve got the space, we’re paying for the hall anyway,” Leyland told ATG. The new disciplines would be housed in a separate section and sub-contracted out to other fair organisers.
Leyland, who did not give a timeframe for the expansion, said a broader fair would offer “more choice for visitors, at an event that’s under cover, with parking”.
MaD acquired AAfE from Clarion Events in April 2019 promising “a fresh approach”. Leyland had managed the AAfE shows for Clarion from 2012-15.
Leyland added that future marketing would emphasise the contemporary objects, as well as the traditional, for sale at the fair.
Stand charges unchanged
For the three AAfE fairs scheduled for 2020 (April, July and November) MaD is freezing stand charges and will move the November event back a week to avoid a clash with Black Friday.
The winter edition (November 28-December 1) got off to a strong start, with a quieter Friday, which coincided with Black Friday sales, and Saturday, when a strike by West Midland Trains went ahead.
Sales including a 19th/early 20th century model of a galleon, from a private collection, for £3000 by Hickmet Fine Art.
A solid oak refectory table and six chairs made by Wilf ‘Squirrelman’ Hutchinson, who trained under Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson, was sold by Somerset dealer Keith Richards for £3500.
Fontaine Decorative reported taking a “significant” order from a London decorator and vowed to return for the April edition.
See AAfE review, ATG No 2422.