WEST JEFFERSON-Downtown is building a reputation as a “must see” tourist destination in western North Carolina.
The High Country’s best kept secret is one that has been decades in the making and can be traced back to the formation of the annual Christmas in July festival in the mid-1980s.
At least, that’s the opinion of Keith Woodie, owner of Antiques on Main and member of the W.J. Business Association.
That organization has worked tirelessly to promote the town’s happenings and its merchants.
Since jumping on the festival wagon, the budding art town has slowly built a reputation as a respected arts and music district.
The launch of an annual downtown antiques fair five years ago has only added to those street credentials.
“The idea behind it (antiques fair) was it all started through the WJBA and our driving point was to invent more festival activities in the downtown to draw people into the downtown area,” said Woodie.
Woodie believes the fair has done its job over the past half decade.
“We can definitely say we are a tourist town and a North Carolina destination,” Woodie said. “I, personally, have seen an increase in traffic each and every year.”
This year’s fair returns to Jefferson Avenue on Friday, Sept. 16, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The fair features free admission.
More than 75 vendors will be in attendance and a few booths are still available. Those interested in reserving a spot should call (336) 977-9165 or visit wjantiquesfair.com
In addition to cotton candy, caramel apples, popcorn or other fair ware, this year’s festival will feature a total of eight bands.
The music starts Friday at 5 p.m. and four more bands are featured on Saturday, including surprise visits from Buddy Holly and Blues Brothers’ tribute acts to promote their shows at the Jamboree in Glendale Springs, said Woodie.
Along with an array of antiques from attics nationwide, the festival will also prominently feature furniture.
“There’s going to be a lot of furniture,” said Woodie. “You’ll probably see more furniture at this fair than most others. We’ll also have local handmade stuff, crafts and collectibles. That was a great addition that we had last year. The quality of antiques and collectibles has been great over the past four years. It’s definitely a treasure hunt.”
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.