At one time Clinton was known as the “City of Pearls” because of the rich abundance of freshwater pearls that could be found in the Clinch River. While the luster of those pearls faded with the creation of TVA lakes, the city has found a way to use the past to shine, at least one day in the Fall.
Saturday, thousands of people took advantage of a sunny and almost hot October day to find the perfect antique to bring home. All along Market Street dozens of antique dealers joined the existing antique store owners in making Clinton the center of the “old” theworld, at least for a day.
From vintage postcards and glassware to old games and school desks you could find something from just about every decade from the past hundred years or more. Mickey Mouse and Coca-Cola products mixed in with Fiesta ware and phonograph players to create a smorgasbord of opportunity for both the serious antique dealer and the person just looking to complete a collection.
The Clinch River Antiques Festival is in its 12th year and is sponsored by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce. The event is a way of showcasing the abundance of antique stores in the city which has one of the largest antique districts in the South. The shops have helped revitalize Clinton’s Downtown which also is home to the historic Hoskins Drug Store and Lunch Counter, the Ritz Theater and the Green McAdoo Cultural Center Museum which tells the story of the Clinton 12 (the first African American students to integrate an all white high school in the South).
The antiques merchants sponsor another festival in the Spring on the first Saturday in May. In the past, the weather has always seemed to play much more of a role, but it is still a great event for collectors and vendors.
The Clinch River Antiques Festival falls on the same weekend as the Museum of Appalachia’s Fall Homecoming, another event drawing tens of thousands of people. With both events so close it almost makes you wish you could stay just a little longer.
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