Spring weather, and antiques, fill downtown Clinton for festival

  • Andy Holder, left, looks over his booth at the Clinch River Spring Antique Festival on Saturday on Market Street in Clinton as Jerome and Connie Foster of Columbia, Missouri, check out the merchandise for sale. - G Chambers Williams III

  • Annabelle King sits and watches over the 1956 Ford Thunderbird owned by her son Kenny King during last Saturday’s Clinch River Spring Antique Show on Main Street in Clinton, where a variety of collector cars were on display. Admiring the car are Charles and Linda Leonard of Rocky Top. - G Chambers Williams III

Great spring weather – featuring pleasant temperatures and no rain – helped attract visitors to the 18th annual Clinch River Spring Antique Festival, making downtown Clinton a busy place Friday and Saturday.

“This was the best weather we’ve ever had, and that definitely helped us,” said Katherine Birkbeck, director of the Historic Downtown Clinton group.

“We did have some vendors who didn’t show up because forecasts all week had been calling for rain – but that never happened,” she said.

Merchants and street vendors were kept busy by the crowds who showed up, and many of the visitors came from outside the area to take part in the event.

They included Jerome and Connie Foster, who said they came to Clinton from Columbia, Missouri, just to attend the festival.

“We found out about it by looking in some guides for good places to go for the weekend, and we came to this area specifically for this festival,” Connie Foster said as she and her husband checked out the street vendors on Market Street on Saturday.

“We love it, and the people here are very friendly,” she said. “There is lots to see, too. I think we will be back again.”

Market Street was blocked to traffic most of the day Friday and Saturday, along with part of Main Street, as well, to accommodate the vendors who lined the streets, and the antique and collector cars that were on display on Main Street on Saturday.

Visitors also filled the seats in the Hoskins Park area for live music performances and other entertainment.

“This was the first year that artisans had been invited,” Birkbeck said.

“We call their work ‘heirlooms in waiting.’ We hope what they create will someday become antiques.

“These were people who do handmade art of some sort, such as woodworking, hand-painted furniture, jewelry, and ceramics,” she said.

“I feel like we had some really great entertainment, too,” Birkbeck said. “Jason Deel and the Netflix show Swap Shop did some appraisals of items people had purchased at the show. That was really fun.”

The weekend event was presented by The Antique Merchants Guild of Clinton, the city of Clinton, and the Historic Downtown Clinton group.

The Spring Antique Festival kicked off the summer selling season for the downtown stores, and has long been a popular event.

This is one of two antique festivals scheduled each year in downtown Clinton.

The next one will be the 22nd Annual Clinch River Fall Antique Festival on Oct. 6-7.

“I would like to expand further down Main Street to help connect some of the brick-and-mortar stores on Main,” Birkbeck said.

“Including them is important.”