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Get lost in the beautiful past this weekend at the East Hampton Antiques & Design Show. (Photo credit: East Hampton Historical Society)

They don’t make ’em like the used to. But if you want to get your hands on some prized pieces, and help preserve the past for generations to come, this weekend is your chance.

The annual Antiques & Design Show not only packs 50 purveyors of the priceless and pretty onto the four-acre Mulford Farm (10 James Lane, East Hampton), proceeds of entry fees to the weekend-long event, as well as the Friday night kick-off party, go to support the East Hampton Historical Society.

Since 1921, the East Hampton Historical Society has doggedly collected, preserved and, when necessary, interpreted the town’s history starting with its period as the first English settlement in New York State and early agrarian ways back in the mid seventeenth century. Today, via its over 20,000 artifacts and the six historical buildings that it stewards, the Society’s work is an important, grounding facet here in the ever-changing face of the Hamptons.

Antique & Design show co-chairs Tony Ungaro and Randy Kemper (Photo credit: Björn Wallander)

“The East Hampton Antiques & Design Show brings everyone together amongst some of these glorious buildings so you can ‘shop ‘til you drop’ in this fabulous setting,” says Randy Kemper, who is co-chair of the event with his partner Tony Ingrao, principles of the architectural and interior design firm, Ingram Inc. “A great, fun event where you can see beautiful items and meet beautiful people!”

But the event, presented by Ralph Lauren (you’ve heard of him, right?), isn’t just about dusty past treasures; it’s also a way of looking back to find what’s next.

“Our clients are seeking antiques that are elegant yet relaxed, often with a touch of whimsy.  We see tremendous interest in antiques and art inspired by the natural world, especially those celebrating animals of all sorts,” says Sheryl Ann Dunleavy of The Ann Parks Collections from Darien, CT, who will be on hand at this weekend’s event. “Clients often bring garden pieces, traditionally kept outdoors, indoors for a fresh look. They cherish the character and timelessness that these pieces give their living spaces.”

Some hot topics for home and garden decor: items that bring the natural world to the fore; a return to lavish (and not so lavish) entertaining at home; using pieces relegated to particular uses in unexpected ways; and table art, like intriguing sculptures or even pieces themselves adorned with folk art.

 “[Consumers] have educated themselves exponentially on the subjects that mean the most to them in regards to art, home, furnishings, and collectability,” says vender Ronald J. Wells of Wells & Company in Hudson, NY. “They are becoming the astute new connoisseurs of the future. Custodians of these objects, for future generations, is part of the excitement. It’s a very intoxicating time for the collector!”

To attend the special preview cocktail soiree ($250) on Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m. — and get in on a little sanctioned early bird buying — call the East Hampton Historical Society at 631-324-6850, ext. 1, or email info Entrance to the Antiques & Design Show are $18 in advance, $20 at the gate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.