Annual event coming to Clay County Fairgrounds this weekend

By Lee Wardlaw lee@claytodayonline.com
Posted 11/30/22

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – This weekend, Clay County residents can skip the stress of holiday shopping by attending the seventh annual Vintage Market Days at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

The three-day …

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Annual event coming to Clay County Fairgrounds this weekend

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – This weekend, Clay County residents can skip the stress of holiday shopping by attending the seventh annual Vintage Market Days at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

The three-day event that opens on Friday will operate daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. while also offering free parking and a designated parking crew on-site to assist guests.

The specially-curated event serves as an annual ‘Super Bowl’ for those working in the interior design and home decor industry in Clay County, Duval County and throughout the United States.

“It has been a fantastic event. We love to create a platform for local and regional vendors to come in and showcase their goods. Those (goods) can be vintage home decor, furniture, boutique clothing, jewelry, garden specialties, and handmade treasures,” said Tonya Ross, owner and promoter of Vintage Market Days.

The traveling show exists further beyond the borders of Northeast Florida. Vintage Market Days also tours Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, every year.

Here’s how Vintage Market Days works: vendors set up boutique-style booths, which resemble the same setting as a store decked out with the best offerings from the interior design and home decor industry.

“When you walk into the event, each booth is individual and looks like a mini store. We love bringing those vendors together. I encourage everyone to visit with each vendor and hear the ‘why’ behind their business,” Ross said.

Just like any competition, Vintage Market Days require a great deal of preparation and planning, and those that enter already need plenty of credence in the industry.

“It’s actually a judged show, and we go through applications and approve those vendors almost a year in advance,” Ross said.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate, but Smith recommends that attendees purchase a ticket in advance online. Tickets are good for the entire event, and they cost $15 on Friday, $10 on Saturday and $5 on Sunday.

“The biggest advantage of purchasing an online ticket is that you can arrive one hour early at 9 a.m.

The event is much fuller at 10 a.m., so it’s a much more pleasurable shopping experience if you get there one hour early,” she said.

But there’s more.

“The first 25 people will get a swag bag with a gift inside. So each day is good,” Ross said.

Smith also warned that Friday would likely provide the best possible experience for those that simply purchase a ticket in advance online.

She said, “Friday is the best day because a lot of vendors will bring along one-of-a-kind items such as special vintage cabinets or repurposed trunks. So Friday is what we like to call ‘first picks.’ You get to look at all of the items first before anybody else does,” Ross said.

Vintage Market Days serves as family-friendly fun in a festival-style setting that should benefit thousands of Clay County residents, including both those participating as vendors and the thousands of other residents that will likely benefit from economic impact via tourism, where travelers will likely use disposable income at local businesses, restaurants and hotels during their stay in Clay.

With more than 118 representatives from 14 states setting up shop at the event this year, vendors will come from far and wide to descend upon Clay County this weekend to compete in the high-stakes fashion showdown.

One thing remains clear, however: local vendors will remain well-represented at the event.

“We have some local vendors represented, and (we) give them a very large platform. Our events are very well attended,” Ross said.

The Cattleman’s Arena is known for hosting anything from bull riding, to concerts, Highland games, monster truck racing and home fashion shows, Vintage Market Days is an event that transcends the fans, shoppers and industry entrepreneurs setting up shop.

Imagine if thousands of customers walked into a local shop in a period ranging less than half one week. It would perhaps provide a record-setting experience for a retailer.

That’s what Vintage Market Days seeks to provide for Clay County vendors, but instead, in an open-air, holiday festival-style setting, according to Ross.

“Just imagine if a small business owner had thousands of people walk into their store over a three-day period,” she said. “That’s what we offer to the local vendor.”

The event should not only provide unique items but also a unique experience in Clay County which should provide for a fun-filled preview of the kickoff of the holiday season, Ross said.

“We are going to have holiday music playing. It’s going to be a one-stop shopping experience,” she said.

An atmosphere combining the best of local and national vendors with the Christmas spirit could even provide for a better holiday duo than cookies and milk.

Santa Claus will make an appearance from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday and Saturday and ‘Kris Kringle’ will sit in front of a large, various Christmas-themed wallpaper that should make for the perfect Sunshine State holiday photo opportunity. Shoppers can even take a selfie to gain re-entry throughout the weekend.

“This is a great way to kick off your holiday shopping experience while supporting local (businesses) at the same time,” Ross said.

A portion of ticket proceeds will be given back to the community via two outreaches, including Clay County 4-H and the LPA Band Boosters, an organization that lessens the burden on individual students and parents in need.

You can reach out to Vintage Market Days of Jacksonville on their website at VintageMarketDays.com/Market/Jacksonville/Index.Php or follow the event on Facebook @JacksonvilleVintageMarketDays or Instagram @VintageMarketDaysJacksonville.

Tickets can be purchased by accessing the following link at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vintage-market-days-jacksonville-presents-celebrate-with-us-december-2-4-tickets-347128098487?aff=erelexpmlt.

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