The self-sustaining Sidewalk Antique & Vintage Show, hosted in partnership with a number of Hendersonville’s downtown antiques malls, is expected to attract as many as 10,000 visitors this month.
And the event itself is 24 years old: impressive, and in fact almost vintage.
Until last year, it was exclusively an “antiques” show — but as Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway explains, “We changed the name to add ‘vintage’ because it’s a little more all-encompassing. After we introduced the change in title, for example, we had a number of vintage-clothing vendors join us for the show, something we hadn’t previously seen.”
That begs the question, What’s the difference? While most folks use the terms “vintage” and “antique” interchangeably — often throwing “retro” into the mix to further complicate the terminology — there are technical distinctions to be made.
Jane Asher, of Jane Asher Antiques and Fine Traditions, the event’s official presenter, helps to sort it all out via professional interpretation.
“Antiques are supposed to be at least 100 years old,” she says, “and I consider vintage items to be those that are used, of good quality and condition, and of a particular time period [for example, Mid Century Modern or Depression-era]. Generally these are items that go well with antiques, that are complementary.
“Another thing that most people don’t realize is that ‘collectibles’ refers to items within an age range of 50 years, but ‘estate jewelry’ is just a fancy name for used jewelry. It can be only five years old and still be sold as estate jewelry.”
Asher has been at her retail location on Main Street for 20 years, and believes that antiques-collecting (or “picking,” to use a trendy term) is making a comeback, after falling on hard times in the last decade’s Great Recession. Today it’s a different crowd, though, she’s noticed — and the shift represents a kind of multigenerational cycle.
“The main buyers used to be the Baby Boomers. But now a lot of them are getting older and slimming down [their belongings]. So they are selling off their stuff to people in their 40s — who might not actually be buying it for themselves, but instead to give to their own children who are growing up and getting married.”
Holloway talks variety rather than demographics. “I think the ever-increasing diversity of items is what will be most striking for returning attendees. We draw vendors from all parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and beyond. You will find everything — from vintage clothes and antique dressers to vintage toys and antique commercial signage.”
The 24th annual Sidewalk Antique & Vintage Show happens June 20, 9am-5pm, in downtown Hendersonville. Free. See downtownhendersonville.org for more information.