Merchants Guild of Clinton presenting 15th annual event
The Clinton Merchants’ Guild will once again host the annual Clinch River Antique Fair on May 4.
This will be their 15th year.
Not much has changed from previous years. There will be an antique car show, dozens of antique vendors set up outside, and a few food vendors, including a new barbecue food truck.
Fair co-organizer Angela Galen has been participating in the Fair since it started.
“When it’s not broke, you don’t fix it,” she joked as she discussed the positive affect the Fair has on the historic district.
She opened her store, The Antique Market, 17 years ago. Back then, Clinton wasn’t known for its antique district.
“There were only a few shops in town,” she recalled. “With the first fall Fair, there were only a few antique vendors.”
Hosting a spring and fall antique Fair was too big of a task, and so the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce now hosts the fall event, according to Galen.
Now, thousands of people come through town just to experience the Clinton shops and to find something unique.
“It’s a great way to showcase the antique stores in downtown Clinton and our beautiful historic town,” she said.
Just before speaking to The Courier News, she said a few customers stopped by The Antique Store and were complimenting the town.
“People love it here,” she said. “I think we’ve made a name for ourselves here because of the two Fairs and the shops.”
She’s excited about the new, non-antique shops that have opened downtown recently.
“We’ve always encouraged having more business downtown,” she said.
“Even though we all love antiques, we don’t want 25 antique stores. Having some additional things has always been something we’ve wanted but just hadn’t seen a lot of.”
Just this year, two coffee shops, a photography studio, a CrossFit gym, a carpentry shop and skin rejuvenation studio have opened up.
“We would love to see a restaurant here,” she said. “A good restaurant that people are drawn to.”
The Fair starts on Friday night with a kick-off party at 6 p.m. All the shops will be open late and Wild Blue Yonder will perform live. On Saturday, guests can shop from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m and it will be held rain or shine. Weather isn’t really a problem, according to Galen. If it rains, more folks head inside to shop, and if it’s sunny, people take their time outside.
“My favorite part is seeing everybody who comes through,” she said. “I love the vibrancy of it all. It’s just an exciting time.”