8 Things You Need to Know About the Clinch River Fall Antique Festival

There’s nothing quite like an East Tennessee fall, especially in Anderson County. The Clinch River Fall Antique Festival is an autumn tradition that keeps growing as the years go on. What was created in 2001 to commemorate the Clinch River Mussel pearls and their economic contributions to East Tennessee in the early 1900s, is now one of the largest fall events in Anderson County.  Each year the festival that’s held just a few miles away from I-75 in Historic Downtown Clinton, Tennessee brings in between 11,000-15,000 people to the community.
 The 18th Annual Clinch River Fall Antique Festival hosted by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce is on October 13, 2018 from 9:00 am- 5:00 pm. This festival has so much to offer and we are sharing 8 things thing that you need to know about this event!

1.       The History of the Festival

Like mentioned earlier, the Clinch River Fall Antique Festival was created to commemorate the Clinch River Mussel pearls in the early 1900s. We know what you’re thinking… pearls, really? Between 1895 and 1936, freshwater Mussel pearls were a popular economic attraction to the City of Clinton. So popular that Clinton was one of the top cities in the Pearl industry! The fresh water pearls brought in tourists from all over the country to Market Street in Clinton, where the pearls were sold. If you’re asking yourself, “How did I not know this?,” it’s because after the Norris Dam was built, the temperature of the Clinch River changed and it became too cold for the Mussels. Sadly, the pearl production in Clinton came to a halt and the rest is history. The festival started out under the name Market and Main Street Festival and was later changed to the Clinch River Fall Antique Festival. 

A worker shows off the Clinch River Pearls as they are being made into buttons.
2.       This Fall Tradition Kicks off on Friday, October 12th

A  Kick-Off Party will take place on Friday, October 12th from 5:00-10:00 pm in Historic Downtown Clinton on Market Street. The evening will be just a preview of the all the great activities that will be taking place the next day. Downtown shops will be extending their hours for this exciting night along with offering special sales and more. It’s not an official kick-off party without music and food! Food vendors will be set up in Hoskins Park along with the bluegrass band, The Real McCoy’s, taking the stage for a live performance at 7:00 pm. Merle FM will be hosting a live remote and giving away surprise items throughout the night as well. Be sure to bring your lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the live entertainment. But if that’s not enough to win you over- the Kick-Off party will also be featuring antique cars with a Cruise In. Walk down Market and Main Street with a blast from the past! 

The Real McCoy's are back to the stage in Hoskins Park for this year's Kick-Off Party! 

3.  The Festival features over 80 Vendors

On Saturday, October 13th, local vendors and vendors from across the Southeast set up shop at the Clinch River Fall Antique Festival. From antique dealers to artisans to food vendors- there is plenty of shopping to chose from! After checking out the vendors, stop in to one of the local shops on Market and Main Streets- they will be extending their hours just for this event! They’ve been known to hold special sales just for this October event- so you do not want to miss out. 

4. There will be live entertainment

Throughout the entire Saturday event, people can enjoy live entertainment at the stage located in Hoskins Park. The stage just so happens to be located by the food vendors too. Music + food…count us in! The lineup for this year’s Fall Antique Festival is listed below! 

Want to know what we really love about this Anderson County fall event? There is a lot of free going on. Free admission and free parking! There will even be free shuttles that are sponsored by MeadowView Senior Living and the Lantern at Morning Pointe

6. Two words: Antique Cars

You cannot have an antique festival without America’s classic antique cars! While strolling along Main Street, enjoy looking at some of the classic cars that will be parked along the street. The antique cars are always a popular attraction at the festival. Perhaps it is because it reminds us of the good ole days! 

7. There is a new addition to this year’s festival

The Clinch River Fall Festival continues to get bigger and better throughout the years. New to this Anderson County Fall tradition is the Beer Garden sponsored by Remax Tri-Star and Elizabeth Powers with Mortgage Options Lending. The Beer Garden will be located behind Hoskins in the Flat and will feature cold brews by Clinch River Brewing. Participants must be 21 years of age and have a valid U.S. ID to enter. The Beer Garden will be open on Friday, October 12th from 5:00-9:00 pm and on Saturday, October 13th from 11:00 am-4:00 pm.  Drink wristbands will be available for $15.00 at the Beer Garden location.

8. The Spring Antique Festival

We know that after the Clinch River Fall Festival is over, you will be wanting more! The good news is that there is always an antique fair held in the spring. The Spring Antique Fair is hosted by the Antique Merchant’s Guild and is typically the first weekend of May. This event is also held in Historic Downtown Clinton! For more information about the Spring Antique Fair, feel free to call Corner Antiques at (865) 457-5250.


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