Antique Festival Overcomes Rain for Great Initial Success in Batesville

3,000 Shoppers Descend on Batesville

The first annual Autumn Antique and Crafts Festival demonstrated clearly that what was not long ago referred to as the “burgeoning antique district” is now a full-fledged attraction.  Approximately 3,000 shoppers visited shops in downtown, around Batesville, and in the county during the three day event, Thursday through Saturday.   Main Street Batesville executive director Paula Grimes proclaimed the festival “a major success and a major learning experience.  We discovered a lot about improving the festival as we move forward.”  Grimes also noted that the weather played a big part in keeping attendance from being even higher. “Thursday’s cold, heavy rain really kept folks at home,” she lamented.

Friday brought a little relief from the rain and allowed Aunt Minnie and the band from Cash’s White River Hoedown in Mountain View to perform in the increasingly busy Pocket Park.  Free burgers and hot dogs provided by Citizens Bank combined with the entertainment to attract a large crowd to the park.

The David Grimes All Star Band performed to a full house Friday evening at the Simply Southern Music Hall.

Shopping was heaviest Friday afternoon, before the clouds set in, and all day Saturday.  All nine of the downtown antique and collectible dealers experienced large crowds and strong sales.  Local non-profits like the United Way and several churches also benefitted from the sale of beverages and food items

Organizer Bob Pest sees a bright future for the festival. “We have a small notebook full of ideas and suggestions for improving the festival next year.  We plan to meet with all the antique and collectible store owners very soon to look at how we get better.  We are looking at developing a broader regional identity by involving other communities. We also want to thank the City of Batesville for their work preparing the pocket park and showing Main Street at its best.”

The first annual Autumn Antique and Crafts Festival was sponsored by First Community Bank, Citizens Bank, the Future Fuel Chemical Company, and the Ozark Gateway Tourist Association.