WEST JEFFERSON —Hundreds of people from across the region descended on West Jefferson for the fourth annual Olde Time Antiques Fair which featured more vendors, music and events than ever before.
The action kicked off on Friday in downtown West Jefferson along Jefferson Avenue at 1 p.m. and continues into the weekend from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 19.
According to event organizer Keith Woodie, this year’s fair featured several changes which allowed the event to grow in size. Nearly 70 vendor spaces were filled compared to 58 spaces in 2014 with vendors coming in from as far as West Virginia and Florida.
Vintage furniture, coins, pottery, quilts, glassware and quirky signs were on display, while food vendors cranked out crowd pleasers like kettle corn and funnel cakes.
This year’s fair also featured a more diverse lineup of country and bluegrass performers than past years. The Buck Haggard Band, Madison Shepherd and the Mountain Park Oldtime Band, along with Hard Times Bluegrass Band, The Dollar Brothers Band and Fleetwood Folk all graced the stage in downtown West Jefferson.
According to Woodie, Arvill Scott was asked to join the fair’s committee this year and organized all of the entertainment. In previous years, the fair had featured just one performer on Friday evening.
Woodie said none of the downtown businesses have complained to him about the fair’s North Jefferson Avenue location.
“Everyone loves it,” Woodie said. “We started this to help our local businesses. The fair seems to draw people into town and that fills our restaurants and allows people to stop in the local shops.”
Sherrie Poplin of Art of Oil in downtown West Jefferson said that in previous years, the store has seen an increase in business during the fair.
“Even though it rained last year, we had a really good crowd,” Poplin said.
Prior to this year’s fair, there had been a few concerns arise about parking downtown during the fair but that is something that Woodie says he is trying to help businesses with.
According to Woodie, his volunteers worked to transport customers from Cutter’s Edge, located on North Jefferson Avenue, by golf cart for those who were unable to walk longer distances.
“We are trying to get better and better at accommodating businesses,” Woodie said.
Woodie said many of the fair’s vendors have been with the fair since the beginning with many being locals of Ashe County.
“Ashe County is full of dealers and collectors alike,” Woodie said. “It makes it a good town to do it in because our county is so full of people who enjoy antiques.”
Dean Watson and his wife Shirley of Fleetwood have setup at the fair several times. He was a pastor in Ashe County for 28 years and started collecting marbles as a hobby nearly three decades ago. During the fair, he even distributed red and white marbles which he said are to represent the blood of Jesus.
Watson brought to the fair his personal collection with marbles of all sizes, colors and ages. Some are over 100 years old.
“I’ve got all ‘flavors’ of marbles,” Watson said. “I’ve got some here that are really, really old and valuable.”
With a successful fourth year in the books, Woodie expects that the fair will continue to grow in the years to come.
“It’s a tourism town and we’ve got to realize that. We’ve got to help all these retail shops and all these restaurants that are coming in,” Woodie said. “We have a lot of room to grow.”
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.